September 24, 2013

Meeting at the Detox

I had a privilege this week to be a part of a group of volunteers that brings AA meetings to the local detox center where I live. It was an amazing experience and it brought out many memories of my own visits to detox, although I have never been to this one. As people introduced themselves around the room, there were quite a few visitors who have been there previously and who have been struggling with alcoholism or addiction for years. This was not like any meetings that I am used too. These people were in the first few days of getting off whatever they were on and still in the daze. What could I possibly say that would help them get sober?

I tried to remember how it felt when I was in detox and what came to mind was the "jumping-off" place, the place where you can't stand drinking any more yet, at the same time, you can't imagine your life sober. I was stuck in that place for a long, long time. And I remember at some point reading this passage and being filled with sudden hope for my future.

This is from Chapter 11, A Vision For You, page 152 in the AA Big Book.
Now and then a serious drinker, being dry at the moment says, “I don’t miss it at all. Feel better. Work better. Having a better time.” As ex-problem drinkers, we smile at such a sally. We know our friend is like a boy whistling in the dark to keep up his spirits. He fools himself. Inwardly he would give anything to take half a dozen drinks and get away with them. He will presently try the old game again, for he isn’t happy about his sobriety. He cannot picture life without alcohol. Some day he will be unable to imagine life either with alcohol or without it. Then he will know loneliness such as few do. He will be at the jumping-off place. He will wish for the end.
We have shown how we got out from under. You say, “Yes, I’m willing. But am I to be consigned to a life where I shall be stupid, boring and glum, like some righteous people I see? I know I must get along without liquor, but how can I? Have you a sufficient substitute?”
Yes, there is a substitute and it is vastly more than that. It is a fellowship in Alcoholics Anonymous. There you will find release from care, boredom and worry. Your imagination will be fired. Life will mean something at last. The most satisfactory years of your existence lie ahead. Thus we find the fellowship, and so will you.
“How is that to come about?” you ask. “Where am I to find these people?” You are going to meet these new friends in your own community. 
I love this passage! I sure wish that it was placed earlier in the book because this to me is so powerful and depicts the state of the "jumping-off place exactly how I felt. But reading this gave me hope, because it said that there is a substitute - there is a solution - the fellowship of AA, and right in my own community! And that was so true, these "new friends" gave me hope and strength to finally, after many years of struggling, to finally get sober!

To find meeting in your area please visit the Alcoholics Anonymous website: How to find AA meetings. 


  1. What a great passage and good for you to help out at the detox! What a great way to do service in a very hands on way. Keep up the good works!

    1. Thanks Al! As always, the hope is that someone will hear something that will help them, that will resonant, that will well show them that it is possible to live sober! I am looking forward to doing it again, since i got invited back :)

  2. I haven't had the pleasure yet of doing a meeting at a detox, but I would love to do one. I remember the NA meeting coming to our detox, and just not knowing at all what the hell was going on. None of us in the detox shared, we just listened. I can't really remember what anyone said, and wasn't sure it was for me. But like you said, these people are in the first few days, and as you know, you're in a complete fog when you're there. ugh. Anyway, I am so glad you are doing is fantastic service :)

    Thank you,


    1. Oh, gosh, I don't remember much of my several visits! But people at this meeting did share, though some of course sort of went on a tangent, way off topic- I suppose caused by still being under influence off, but really I found it hard in the fact that I felt helpless. I wanted to just hand them sobriety, like a gift in a box, you know! Ugh. Thanks Paul, glad you're back from the hiatus !

  3. i have no idea how i could have come over 2 1/2 years into sobriety (and to do it with happiness) if it hadn't been for the rooms and the fellowship of AA!


Keep moving forward!