Tuesday, my dad celebrated his 31st AA birthday. That’s pretty huge.
He’s been sober 31 years; I’ve been around not quite 28. I’ve never seen him take a drink. He and my brothers tell stories about those days, but I’ve never seen it first hand. I’m so grateful for that.
Photo by Jocelyn Sexton Creative Services
When I was little, I had my own chair at the AA meetings. I don’t remember going on Mondays much, but on Friday nights, I was in my chair at the meeting. I remember so many little details about those meetings. I don’t remember any stories told or faces, really, but I remember the little things. I remember the way the tables were set up. I can see the way the coffee area was set up and the table on the side of the room where my dad’s brief case would sit until we returned everything to its place at the end of the meeting. I learned the Lord’s Prayer and the Serenity Prayer sitting in the Episcopal Parish Hall with my dad. I scoff at AA meetings on TV because they aren’t what I remember;
of course, in real life, they’re all just like the ones I remember from 25+ years ago.
Meetings were just part of what we did when I was growing up. We’d get there early, make coffee, set up, have the meeting, visit for a while, and head to Dairy Queen for dinner or a sundae–well, always a sundae. I remember it fondly, the way some people remember going to the beach.
The meetings, of course, aren’t the important part; they’re just the part I remember. The important part is that each day, one day at a time, for 31 years, my dad has overcome alcoholism. He’s helped many others get sober as well–both as a licensed counselor and as a friend and mentor outside of that.