The main event of today was the meeting that I went to tonight, a step 11 meeting in central London that I don’t usually go to. In fact I hadn’t been to this particular meeting for about three months, and the last time I went I thought I’d never go again, as I wasn’t particular friendly with any of the regulars there. But today I was meeting my good friend D for coffee, and he said that he wanted to meet there first because he needed a meeting. I was happy to meet at this step 11 group: knowing that I’d know at least one person there gave me something to look forward to. When I arrived just before 7, I happened to recognise most of the people in the room, and I heard my name called out several times as people I hadn’t seen for a while came to greet me. From the start I felt more at home than I had expected to. As it’s a step 11 meeting, the tradition is to have ten minutes’ meditation at the beginning; it was my first serious attempt at meditation in months. I just don’t find the time to meditate in my everyday life. I think this is unfortunate, because for most of the time my head is like the busy main road outside my flat, with noisy thoughts rushing around and up and down constantly. I’d like to be able to set aside a quiet time for myself every day, but in my experience, changing anything in my routine requires a sustained and major effort.
This evening’s meditation seemed to do me the world of good, as I felt instantly better once I’d done it. The journey into central London had been fraught with the usual delays and irritations, all of which were taken away as I sat in that quiet, darkened room surrounded by my fellow AAs. After the ten minutes were up the meeting turned to general sharing, and I got the chance to speak quite early on as it was done in a ’round robin’ fashion. I talked about my gratitude for the ten minute meditation. I really think I needed it. I also talked about reaching eight months sober and how I think things are really beginning to shift in my life. After the meeting was over, I went for coffee with D as arranged, and we spent a lovely hour and a half in the coffee shop in town where people from AA usually hang out. D’s the same age as me, and we have an awful lot in common; I love spending time with him.
Sadly I haven’t seen much of him recently, because we tend to go to different meetings now, but I think we’re going to try and change that from now on. He was one of the first people to become my friend in sobriety, and I’ve always been incredibly fond of him. At times I’ve felt insecure about our friendship, simply because I don’t always see him, and he is a busy guy. I think at the heart of the insecurity, though, is his age; I never had friends in my age group before I came into recovery, perhaps because I always found them a bit unreliable. More than that, I never had a good relationship with peers at school. I was treated very badly by my peers, and I think I was left without trust in young people in general. When I hang out with people like D now, there is a bit of me that seems to think I’m not worthy of their attention. Like they must be making fun of me by spending time with me. It’s that whole ‘me vs them’ thing; D and his friends are like the cool cliques I used to loathe and admire equally at school. Now I’m hanging out with people like that, and it’s very strange. Especially since it turns out that D and I have so much in common, so much to talk about. We understand each other perfectly, and we agree on so much. Tonight we talked about spirituality, the program, our recovery, our friendships, our sex lives, our music tastes. The conversation flowed naturally and freely. To feel that connection with someone in itself is wonderful; to have it with a person of my own age, someone I never thought would even like me, is testament to the power of the program.