I met a gal at the noon mtg Monday who is returning to AA meetings at 20+ yrs sober, after not having been in meetings for several years. I live in a very small town in a rural part of Ohio, and it is always wonderful to welcome a fresh perspective and set of experiences. As she shared in the meeting, I could tell she was glad to be back in meetings, getting back in the groove so to speak. Evidently, some AAs at other meetings she had been to since returning were rather outspoken about her long period of time without meetings. I hate to hear about that sort of treatment. No one in AA is in ANY position to judge another.
I know for me, that I must maintain a steady diet of contact with AA in order to remain reasonably well-adjusted. I don't go to a ton of meetings like I used to, but I am in one meeting almost every week. I built my life in AA, so I have contact with sober AA's on a daily basis and I have an active faith life in my church. SO, I never really venture far from the "fountainhead" lol. Evidently, this gal was "off the AA radar" for quite some time but she sure came across to me as in being wonderful spirits. I'm not going to judge her, only welcome her. I just know that I might be in trouble if I venture too far away from meetings, lol. And besides, I feel better when I attend meetings and share where I am with other AAs.
My alcoholism hadn't progressed to "life-threatening" stages by the time I found AA at age 27. I was miserable, insane and growing more insane when I arrived. But, I didn't have DT's, I didn't need to detox, I hadn't had a DUI, bad car crash, divorce, law issues or anything along the lines of many low bottom alcoholics and addicts i met in AA. (YET) However, I was bad enough for me. I was a spiritual and emotional wreck. I was a self-centered, lying miserable SOB, making most everyone around me miserable as well. I wasn't happy drunk or sober, and I certainly wasn't building a life for myself. Returning to that horrific (and thankfully unrecognizeable) life is unimaginable today. So, I go to meetings to work on me, feel better, give of myself and ultimately to insure I remember that my sobriety is still job #1! My recovery has a subtlety to it, for lacking that "near death" experiences shared by so many low bottom AAs. I have to constantly be in touch with the fact that I am still an alcoholic and have to be aware of my behaviour.
I'm glad that gal has returned. She's certainly helped me by being at a meeting I was sitting in on Monday. At the end of the day, that's what it's all about!