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Open Meetings
I was recently asked ‘What’s the point of open meeting?’ and it got me thinking as to why they matter so much to me.
They matter because they are a lantern of hope for everyone who attends. If you work, live or know an addict then you will have felt the effects of the car crash that was their addiction. You may even have been hit head on with them when they gave into their illness. Maybe you pulled the handbrake on, or jumped out of the car as it hurtled towards it’s inevitable conclusion. So for you to be here tonight means that something changed... open meetings are celebrating change.
The people getting recognitions today have admitted their weaknesses, at least in this area, and their lives will have improved. But open meetings are not a walk in the park, looking back at how you were is intensified at an open meeting. Many painful memories as to where you and your family where 1, 2, 3, or however many years ago can be tough to relive; and do so in front of even more strangers and that takes courage. Open meetings celebrate courage.
The members who have slipped or not made it to this point may feel mixed emotions, but all that have gone for just one day deserve to recognise the achievement this is for an addict, but that it is the only way to arrest the slide into oblivion. Every person attending today has the same opportunity to stay sober and to rebuild their lives as these members have. Open meetings celebrate equality within our fellowship.
Yet, in the midst of happiness at an open meeting is realisation that this is but ‘just another day’ of sobriety, today’s abstinence will matter less if tomorrow is replaced by a return to darkness, and whilst our family and friends say well done, we know that an open meeting is about balance. Our life now has some of that, and we have made a decision to re-enter the world of non-addiction, if we ever previously lived in that world. Open meetings remind us of the gift of balance and our responsibility to protect and nourish it.
My friend looked at me fairly wide eyed when I gave them this answer and said ‘how did such a fool, so sad, and so twisted, learn so much so quickly’ and that’s when I realised the most important benefit of all, honesty, for in no other setting would I allow my 15 year daughter to call me a fool and still kiss her as she gave me my 3 year pin. Thank you for teaching me to accept a clean balanced life, filled with courage, hope, embracing change and responsibility just one day at a time and be brave enough to face my loved ones and say I am not fixed, not whole but today at this meeting I can say to you all ‘Just for today I will not gamble’.

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