Hi, My Name is Emily...

posted on: Wednesday, March 31, 2010

...(in unison) Hiii, Emily.

I went to AA yesterday. No, this is not a confession. I am--really--not an alcoholic. I went because my preceptor suggested that I do so, to be able to see what goes on in those meetings so I can more appropriately recommend them to our alcoholic patients. My doc is an Addictionist, and sees LOTS of drug and alcohol addicted patients. She's also an Adolescent Medicine specialist and sees lots of teenagers with STDs, but that's a story for another day.

So I'm in my AA meeting, and naturally, I'm looking around. There were definitely people there who you could just tell were alcoholics. They had this rode-hard-put-up-wet look to them. But others, including myself, just looked like an average person walking down the street (in a nice part of town...here in Chicago, it definitely depends on which street you're walking down).

But people's appearances are not what I'm here to write about. I was most struck by the language of the 12 Steps. Being raised in a religious home, I was taught to believe that a certain religious tradition, and a certain religious tradition ONLY, could be termed actual truth. I'm not here to debate religious tradition either, but it was incredible to me to see a room full of people UNITED by their collective dependence on a Higher Power..."God as you understand it to be", to use the 12 Step language. They weren't there to talk about which god was the true God. They were just there acknowledging that this alcoholism was bigger and more powerful than they could manage on their own, and that they NEEDED God to get them through it. Whoever he is. To be honest, I felt more of a unification of spirit in this AA meeting than I have in a church in a very very long time. There was such a sense of dependence in that room...it made grace seem like such a real and beautiful thing. These people could do literally nothing to pull themselves out of the mess they were in. No amount of going to church, or being good, or doing/saying the right thing would make them any less of an alcoholic. They just had to trust that God and other people would love them anyway.

That's grace.

1 comments:

  1. Emily,
    I have the exact same sentiments as you regarding AA. I have been to a few meetings to support a friend, and i walked out saying "This is what church is supposed to be!! Admitting who i really am (Hello, my name is Johanna and I'm an alocoholic/sinner) and that I CANNOT do this on my own, that i depend on my community and a Higher Power." It was a really beautiful experience of honesty and transparency, something you NEVER see in churches these days.

    ReplyDelete

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