I did the normal things one does when chairing a meeting: talk about what it was like before alcohol, what it was like when I drank, what happened, and what it's like now living sober. Standard spiel. And then I talked a little bit about this mourning process I am in. How this has been a tough week for me, how I am hurting, but working through it. I can be healthy and still be in pain. I have no regrets about what I did. I gave everything I had. I put everything I possibly could into the campaign, and it turns out that this time, it was not enough to win. I can't get married. I cried. I didn't whine or carry on, I didn't accuse anyone of anything. I talked about how I felt and how I was dealing with it, and how drinking sure as hell was not going to make anything better.
And I got enormous support. Lots of the people there knew I was working on the campaign. Some didn't. One or two might even have voted yes. I noticed that they did not approach me after the meeting like the others did. By and large, though, the vast majority were wonderfully supportive and sympathetic. My wise and ancient sponsor (he's my "auxiliary" sponsor, we've decided) made a special point to come up to me and tell me to call him. I will do that. He is a wonderful man. An Elder in every sense of the word, not just in his Penobscot Nation heritage. One of the original guys who started meetings on the island years and years ago, he's got 30-some years of sobriety and the wisdom of generations. I must make it a point to see him.
But what I notice now, after coming home to comfy clothes, a cup of tea and two medicinal cupcakes, is how nurtured I feel. One meeting, and I feel back into it. I fell back into the rhythm and cadence, I looked around the room and knew all the faces, and was able to feel all the love.
And that just struck me. I was able to feel all the love in that room tonight.
That is different for me.
Usually I can see it, but I don't always feel it. Tonight I felt it.
And I was not afraid of it.
Oh wow. This is the difference that HAI weekend has made.
I could see love, accept it, welcome it and feel it.
Without concern over any one's motives.
That is huge. More than I can possibly describe.
I've got to figure some way for us to be able to make it to the Level 2 weekend in December. Crap. Gotta gotta gotta.
We did Level 1 back at the beginning of October. It was intense, and wonderful and enlightening, but until just this moment, I had not seen a real, tangible example of how it had changed how I relate to people. Wow.
Gotta go digest this.