12 Step Meeting The meeting I attended took place in Bothell on a weeknight at 7: 00 pm in the evening. The meeting was held in a local church and there were 17 people in attendance, excluding myself. Among the 17 people, there were 6 women and 11 men. The average attendee was approximately between the ages of 40-50, 4 people were under the age of 30, and two were somewhere around 60. Of the 17 people, 16 were white and one woman was of an Asian-American descent. The focus of the meeting was Step #2 -humility.
There were a few AA birthdays and in general the meeting consisted out of birthday-people reliving their stories and some talking about humility. Prior to the meeting I was expecting to enter into a room filled with smoke and nervous, agitated people. My impression of AA and of alcoholics mostly came from movies and my own prior experience with population suffering from different psychiatric disorders. I was expecting a lot of smoking, coffee drinking, twitching and general nervous behaviors.
To my surprise the meeting mostly was attended, by normal in appearance people, that I would never suspect of having any addiction problems. The people were not twitching (to my surprise), but instead were very calm, cool and collected. Many talked about God and holding AA as the higher power in their lives. The meeting I attended best compares with the meetings I saw in the film 28 Days. While in rehabilitation center Gwen attends a series of inside the rehab meetings. As in the 28 Days meetings, the meeting I attended was held in a circle with people facing each other.
There were no outbursts as in the movie, but there was an official "huger" who dispensed hugs as needed, be it a birthdays or a new attendee such as my self. Movie consisted of constant outbursts at therapy sessions, emotions of the film characters were all over the place, people were angry, happy or depressed. The people at the meeting I attended were mostly quiet and most seemed very depressed. I came away form the meeting, with enormous feeling of sadness, for all attending. Many of the stories heard by me at the meeting coincided with different stories, from 28 days. Just like Gwen in the beginning of the movie crashed her car and was court ordered to go into rehab, many of the people at the meeting had similar fates.
One young man had a horrific car accident and had to spend a month in Harbor View hospital and was court ordered to be there, 20 month later he is still going to AA, even though the court order expired a long time ago. I found that more than half of the people started out going to AA by the order of the court and ended up staying for themselves. One interesting fact that I have noticed deals with the movie When a Man Loves a Woman, the meetings the heroine of the movie is saddened by the fact that she is no longer the same person, she was while she was drinking. She is no longer as much fun, or no longed as interesting as she once was. Many of the people at the "real meeting" expressed the same concern, that the fun life is no longer fun, and they are not the same people as they once were.
As a mentioned before I came away from the AA meeting with a feeling, of great sadness and warmth. I felt welcomed and excepted, but at the same time I still cant for.