May 20: The AA Group – home or away, f2f or online

The AA Group – home or away, f2f or online

Welcome especially to ladies joining us, if this is your first Grow weekly topic meeting I’m glad you found us. Congratulations to anniversary and milestones too. If you’re new to AA, it was suggested to me that I listen for the similarities not the differences.

I’ve recently been reflecting on my journey with different home groups that I’ve been part of in AA and of times I’ve travelled with home group members, doing service beyond my group or geographical location. I recall many happy times car sharing and hitting the road to attend a convention, a service meeting, to carry the message to a prison or treatment centre or to support a new meeting. I have great memories of the fun, the laughs, the openness and intimacy, the feeling of joy at being sober, of experiencing the “camaraderie” our Big Book describes. And the bonds and unity with my fellow home group members being strengthened and deepened through these shared times. I have nearly always been able to have a face to face home group, for which I’m so grateful. But I’m also grateful I needed to reach out and be part of an online email home group too, the love and support here has carried me at times.

I joined my first f2f home group at a week sober. I got the tea-making service post a week later. I cried into that tea pot most weeks for my first year! But I was loved anyway. Later on I became group secretary, then later served as GSR. That was where I really began to experience the wonder of “one alcoholic talking to another”.

That was where I learned about carrying the message into prisons, the AA helpline, about turning up to a service meeting and making a commitment. I’m grateful to all those members in that first home group and first intergroup and first area for showing me how service would help me grow. For me, my weekly grounding comes from being part of an AA group. Somewhere I can do service, be of use, carry the message that was carried to me, but also a place to get strength and inspiration, a place to get that “different perspective” that I so often need. It’s also where I can feel connected, that I’m not alone, and get a hug (even email hugs make a difference to my day!!).

I love our weekly topic meetings here. I love how safe our Grow group is and I’m grateful for all the women who’ve done service here over the years to help us stay that way and function within the AA Traditions. I am grateful I get to check in with our weekly topic meeting or the monthly step & tradition meeting or the Grapevine topic meeting just by looking at my emails.

I had post natal anxiety a few years ago, where my mental health was in crisis, and at times I couldn’t leave my house let alone get to a meeting. I reached out to fellowship and members came to my home every Sunday for months for a meeting. Someone brought an old set of banners, people came with food to share afterwards, we took turns chairing and choosing topics. It was beautiful. It kept me “in” the fellowship. Back then I didn’t know about how supportive being in online AA could be. I also had no idea that my f2f home group would actually be in my home for a while! Travel has played a part in my sobriety. I relocated cities at almost 5 years sober, countries at 12 years and again at 16 years and then cities last year. In each place I’ve lived I’ve joined a group and done service, and felt part of. I’ve always sought out fellowship and meetings on holidays too and it makes me smile at some of the adventures I’ve had searching for a meeting venue abroad in a new and strange place. And that feeling of taking a seat, seeing the 12 Steps & 12 Traditions on the walls, the silence or prayer at the beginning and that feeling in my bones and in my heart that “I’m home”.

One of the few times I took an overseas trip for work, the meeting room turned out to be on the same street as my hotel and the meeting time meant I could do the meeting before dinner and the evening with colleagues. Such a god job!

One of the things I love about being a member here in Grow is the variety of experiences and bits of AA history and stories I hear from you. They inspire me to keep coming back and to keep growing. This week our topic is the AA group home or away – online or f2f. Please share on this or whatever you need to. The meeting is yours.
In fellowship