This past week-end I went to Hong Kong for a workshop and it happened to be the same week-end as the AA Hong Kong Convention. I wouldn’t have traveled to Hong Kong for it, I know myself, but I was there and should check it out, right? Again, I had such trepidation about it and at many points along the way I was tempted to abandon ship and wander around Hong Kong some more. But I made it there and I’m so glad that I did.
It did what it was supposed to do: make me feel connected to a caring community who sees me for the struggles I have had and the strength I tap to create a more authentic life without drinking. Speakers who shared their stories about the lows of their lives and the shame of their behavior and what they have done to make amends with others and the most difficult: themselves. I felt the magic of AA this time around and how it offers support in a way that addicts can accept and that they need. I saw the love, it all its odd forms, from people who have some years to those who were there shaken and uncertain in their decision and in themselves. The amount of gratitude I heard from people towards AA was so powerful: thank you, thank you, thank you…I might not be alive if it wasn’t for my sponsor, my group, my people, a loving God, a higher power…
There was a workshop for walking through Steps 4 and 5 and I joined a table that was all women with intention. Stapled worksheets were passed out, people talked about approaches, their experiences, the purposes of it, variations. So helpful, even in the face of how daunting the inventory tasks seem: resentments of people, then institutions and groups, then principals, then fears, then harms I caused others. The following day, Ann, an American, who is also based in China, came to me to offer her help with Step 4. She heard my brief sharing how I got stuck on the steps with a sponsor who told me I was doing it wrong and how I have let it stall my progress. We have a video call tonight to get to know each other and approach step 4. If things go well I hope to take her on as my sponsor. It feels like a big deal.
I used to drink with the best of them, but I don't anymore. My life is so much better for it.
-Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp