What I Hear in the Halls of AA

October 13, 2023
A picture of rows of people sitting in chairs appearing to be listening to someone speak at an AA meeting. No faces are shown. Some people have open notebooks in their laps and pens in their hands.

I’ve been going to a lot of AA meetings lately, because I’ve been dealing with a lot in my personal life, and this is what I do in recovery—I up my program when I need to. And I get so much information in AA meetings, not only for my own recovery, but for you.

Truly all the programs at Tipping Point Recovery started back when I was just getting sober. I would sit in the halls of AA and hear things that I had never heard on the outside, and I remember thinking, Does anyone know this? Why don’t people know this?

I didn’t realize at the time, but my mission would later become to spread those very teachings to the rest of the world.

Now when I listen in AA meetings, I hear it through two lenses: as a person in recovery who is healed and supported by their peers, and as a Family Recovery Expert who recognizes the things families want to (need to) know. I’m going to share a few of those things with you now.

These are things I hear consistently, from thousands of speakers across more than 10 years of attending AA meetings.

“I did anything to get the attention of anyone in my life, since I was a child.”

I bet you can relate that to your loved one and things they do. Acting out the way we do is seeking attention. It’s not the right kind of attention, but we don’t know how to get the right kind of attention. So we do disruptive things. We’re not looking for you to get charged up and angry and hurt. We’re looking for help.

“That first sip was like a warm glow on the inside of my body, and I knew it was what I needed to get through life.”

That’s addiction. It starts when most of us are really young. You hear this unanimously in AA, people who say, “I was 12 years old, and I grabbed my father’s drink after he drank it,” or, “I was nine years old and found my mother’s drink.” “I was 14 years old, and my friend gave me my first sip.”

We discover a substance that just shuts everything off. And we become addicted, and then we can’t get out. At which point we do anything to protect it, because it’s a vicious cycle.

“I didn’t like me enough to do it for me initially.”

You often hear people say things like, “They have to do it for themselves. They can’t do it for anyone else.”

Well, I loathed myself. I absolutely wanted to vanish, wanted to die, didn’t want to be here. I woke up most mornings in the end of my addiction wishing I wasn’t alive, looking at trees on the highway and wondering how fast I’d have to go to really end it. I learned later on that this is called passive suicide, and it’s really common for people in active addiction to experience. And people were saying to me, “You have to do it for yourself.”

Those two things didn’t add up. I didn’t like myself enough to do it for me initially. Which is why I’m always telling families, “You can start.”

You can start.

You can take little steps and do things differently for yourself and in response to your loved one. Because something often needs to change outside of them in order to help the inside of them want to change.

“My family doesn’t understand me.”

I hear this frequently. And every time, it motivates me to get my message out further. Because what’s going on with them and what’s going on with you isn’t making recovery happen. When you work with Tipping Point, you connect with them. Almost 100% of the time.

Another thing you can do is go to open AA meetings. Get there 10 minutes early, stick your hand out to someone and say, “I’m the loved one of an alcoholic, and it was suggested I go to open AA meetings to learn about alcoholism.” They will welcome you. And you will hear these things first hand, and your understanding of addiction will increase dramatically. And your response to it will change as a result.

Share with me…

Have you ever attended an open AA meeting? What did you hear? Share it in the comments below, or post it in our Friends of Tipping Point online community so others can learn from it too.

If you’d like to get involved in one of our programs, you can always book a call with me here to get started.

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