Friday, July 22, 2016

Anonymous Student went to AA Meeting

Student Service Project Report Summer 2016

I was originally going to pick my own quote from one of my favorite writers or a person of great significance in our culture, but I found this to fit my experience. My service project came to fruition in a small room of a church in north Tallahassee. I decided to visit an AA meeting against the feelings inside me. I grew up in a family that liked to drink, none were violent and I always felt fortunate that I didn’t have the same childhood my father experienced. I myself like to have a drink or two with friends and family on a day of celebration or just an easy Sunday. 

When deciding to pick my service I thought about the people that are ruined by something so many people enjoy. I have often though about the irony that is the relationship our society shares with alcohol, it can enhance an Independence Day celebration and at the same time completely destroy someone’s life.

​ I started my service by searching for an AA meeting around me. A sad surprise showed me numerous options around Tallahassee and the surrounding areas. I settled on a church that was close to my work and in an area I was familiar with. It was a Monday night and the meeting was at 8pm at a local church, my usual cheery manner was strained as I found a parking spot. I began to feel nervous as I grasped the reality of what I was about to partake in. I knew that I wanted to service the community in some fashion and I decided that this is somewhere that I might be able to make a difference. As I walked in I noticed a community of people with pure intentions. I overheard conversations that were focused on the wellbeing of the people involved. You could immediately tell these people cared for each other and at the same time you could see they were almost strangers. Within minutes strangers were introducing themselves and asking how I was. It almost took my breath away at how friendly this group of people was. After a few minutes I noticed everyone taking a seat at one of the folding chairs around the room.

​As much as I prepared myself I wasn’t ready for what happened a few minutes into the meeting. The man who welcomed everybody, greeted people by name and shared a few words that held heavy meaning looked right at me. He asked softly if I would like to introduce myself and speak to the group. My heart was pounding as I stood up, I looked around the room and said my name. I told them about how I was there to perform a service and to help any way I could. Apparently I was the first student at this gathering with my intentions and I began to feel as if I made a mistake. The group quickly reassured me that they were happy to see me. I sat back down and the meeting commenced. I heard stories of heartbreak and the fight against temptation. The experience changed me to the core; I realized a disease that exists within people we share our lives with. Now all I could think about was how to help.

​As the meeting came to an end I was still struggling with myself on how I could help. I got up to leave but was stopped by a middle aged woman who introduced herself at a mother with a child my age. She explained how her dependency on alcohol caused a divorce and how she thought that led to her kids misbehavior. As we talked other members started to come into our conversation. As I told them about my life and what I am trying to do with it they listened to every word. Many were happy for me and some warned me about the temptations that exist. I had already stayed for almost two hours when I realized I still had a few people that wanted to know about me. I told them how I overcame my obstacles and they listed as if they would try it themselves. I don’t know if I ever really helped anyone, but I hope in my heart that one of the friends I made that night will fight to overcome their problem.

​That experience changed me more that I would have expected. I know now that everyone is fighting his or her own struggle. As important as my experience is the realization that everyone should try and help as much as they can. We can all make a difference in others life and we should do that any chance we get.