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First Meeting

First Meeting

Last week I went to Alcoholics Anonymous for the first time.

What do you say after a sentence like that?

I feel pressure to qualify it somehow. Like, listen. I’m not an alcoholic. I went with a friend, all right? He’s the alcoholic. I just drink. It’s not a problem. Seriously!

Here’s the thing: what I want to write to you about has nothing to do about drinking.

It’s this: that hour at Alcoholics Anonymous was one of the beautiful things I have ever witnessed. And I believe you would think so too.

Why? You’ll have to trust me on this. Part of the code is that I can’t tell you anything about anyone that was there. But, for the sake of your soul, I do think I can maybe get away with telling you this: At Alcoholics Anonymous, no one there feels pressure to qualify anything about anything.

It was beautiful I tell you.

No pretense. No bull.

In that room there was nothing but love, acceptance, and joy.

That was the thing. There was so much joy in the room. I hadn’t felt that much joy in a very long time.

I left going, “Man. Those alcoholics really have got something that I don’t got.”

They remind me of what Jesus says about losing your life to save it.

I always thought of Jesus’ words as either literal (which freaks me out – until you realize that Jesus literally did that for me!!!) Or I thought about those words metaphorically (like all this false-self/true-self mambo jambo that has been going around the last few years). Neither of these interpretations is bad, mind you. But listen: when you sit in a room of folks who literally have lost pretty much everything, and they’re sitting around with joy oozing out their pores – that’s something to pay attention to. That’s some kind of miracle.

That’s what they call a Higher Power.

I call it beautiful. And I want more of it.

I want no pretense. No bull. I want a life with nothing but love, acceptance and joy.

And if I have to go to A.A. to get it, then maybe I’ll go.

And if you need someone to take you, let me know.

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Ned Erickson

Ned is the Founder and Executive Director of the Winston-Salem Fellows, a non-profit dedicated to equipping people to live seamless lives as they grow into the men and women they were created to be. He is the author of four books, including the critically acclaimed novel Clay. He, his wife, two children, dogs, rabbit, guinea pig, turtle, and chickens live in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

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