EditorialOne of the phrases we hear in meetings is the suggestion to 'join a group'. When we first stumble through the doors of Alcoholics Anonymous and travel around the different meetings the questions "Have you joined a group yet?" or "Which group are you in?" are often asked as our hands are being warmly shaken by the greeter at the door.
The disease of alcoholism wants nothing more than to keep us apart from others so that the never-ending cycle of drinking and thinking about drinking remains unbroken. Having a home group in AA can be the first step away from that physical and mental isolation.
Being in the company of the same people week in, week out, as you open up the meeting allows a person to feel part of. It is whilst you are setting out the cups and the chairs that little conversations naturally occur and trust begins to be built. It is at a home group that we start letting people in and when people accept us 'warts and all', friendships are forged, hope turns to faith and recovery begins.
Being a group member also allows the spark of service to be lit in a person. Whether it's serving the tea, being the group treasurer or being the greeter at the door, carrying out these group roles gives us the chance to practise being responsible and reliable human beings.
Doing for others rather than for ourselves, perhaps for the first time in years, is key to combatting the selfishness of alcoholism and this service for others is also what keeps the Fellowship alive.
Where better to learn all this than in a home group - the heartbeat of AA.
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