March 17: My ESH (experience, strength, hope) in GROW

Topic for the week:  My ESH in GROW

I have been a member of GROW for close to 10 years. During that time there has been a lot of turn over in membership. There are a  number of women still here that were members when I first arrived and there are also some women that I looked up to that have died. GROW is an important part of my program but I’ve realized how little I know about many of the members whos shares I follow each week. Because we are an ’email group’ it is easy to hide behind our keyboards and not really get to know each other. I am guilty of not reaching out as much as I could. I chose this weeks topic in the hope that we might get to know each other on a deeper level and perhaps make the extra effort to get to know each other better. I thought we might do that by sharing how we found our way to GROW, our experience with GROW and how it has impacted our program/sobriety, and what things are like for us now as a part of GROW.

I joined GROW when I was 14 months sober. I had gotten sober in Eugene, Oregon at the ripe old age of 56. I am a slow learner. My husband and I are fulltime RVers and have been living that lifestyle since 2006. When I got sober in 2013 I went to rehab in Eugene.  We took a break from traveling for the next 12 months so I could get a solid foundation in my sobriety. I attended a number of Womens groups during that year. A woman at one of those meetings was a member of GROW and she suggested I check it out when she knew I was getting ready to start traveling again.

When we resumed our travels I continued going regularly to f2f meetings in each new location we traveled to. AA is one of the most welcoming, and loving groups of people I have ever had the privilege of being a part of. Even though I was a total stranger, each time I attended a new meeting in a new town, I was welcomed and made to feel ‘a part of’. After a few months though, I realized that almost every new meeting I went to, I was asked to share my story. It didn’t take long before I began to feel that I was missing out on hearing other peoples stories. Hearing the ESH of other AA members is a critical part of my program! It was shortly after this that I joined GROW. GROW became my Home Group. It is where a number of you know me from my shares and I have gotten to know some of you. It is the meeting where my absence would hopefully be noticed. GROW is where I do my Service Work and where I found my Sponsor. Because of the email format for sharing, GROW has been instrumental in a great deal of self discovery. Because I have days instead of minutes to think about what I want to say about our weekly topic, I have discovered things about myself that have resulted in real growth in my program. I am certainly not the confused, novice in sobriety I was when I arrived in this group. Even through the pandemic and the shift to ZOOM meetings, GROW has continued to be my meeting of choice, my home group. It suits me and my traveling schedule.

Recently I have seen a troubling change in our group. The membership numbers have decreased, the Trusted Servant positions have become difficult if not impossible to fill, and the number of women that share regularly has been spotty. I am deeply concerned about the health and future of GROW but I have turned that outcome over to my Higher Power. I know that what ever happens, my HP will direct me to the next right thing.

In the mean time, I look forward to hearing about your ESH with GROW: how each of you came to GROW, what has happened since you joined and what things are like now.

Thank you for taking the time to read and share on this weeks topic.

Yours in Service,

Cheryl B