I just returned Tuesday night from the 75th AA International Convention in San Antonio, thus my absence from the blog site. It was a wet, very humid event but filled with great talks, lots of encounters with friends, new and old, and for me, 9 hours of greeting friends and signing books at the Hazelden site in “tent city.” I was overwhelmed, again and again, by the wonderful conversations with friends and new acquaintances.
San Antonio is a lovely city. The Riverwalk is bordered by great restaurants and every thing was in easy walking distance, once you got to the downtown area. But for most of us, food wasn’t the top thing on our minds. It was listening to great talks about “what it was like, what happened and what it’s like now,” watching the flag ceremony the first night, listening to the “old-timers” the second night, and grabbing coffees with people you had not even expected to run in to.
Have I ever mentioned how much I love AA? And I would have to say Al-Anon too. The journey I was on before that fateful day in late 1974 when I walked into my first Al-Anon meeting was not a pretty sight. My own alcoholism had been out of control for many years but it was so much easier to watch the others I journeyed with. For sure they were alcoholic too. I didn’t know if I’d stick a round when I first came into Al-Anon but I have. Being a “double winner,” doing both AA and Al-Anon is like taking a double dose of vitamin C when you have a cold. I can’t recommend it enough.
It’s been my personal belief for years that most of us were “codependent” before we picked up that first drink or drug. The behavior of others easily affected how we felt about ourselves. For many of us, taking that first drink was the direct result of trying to lessen the pain of how we perceived others were feeling about us. It’s a deadly cycle one can get sucked into. I know. That’s where I lived for multiple decades.
Being free from that “addiction,” has made a huge difference in my life. I can see with clarity now. I can make the decisions I need to make for me. And I can let others do the same. That’s the kind of stories I heard repeatedly over the week end in San Antonio too. Our lives have changed. And we are in the position of helping others to change their lives too. What a glorious reason to be alive.