“We are like passengers of a great liner the moment after rescue from shipwreck when comaraderie, joyousness and democracy pervade the vessel from steerage to Captain’s table…the feeling of having shared in a common peril is one element in the powerful cements which binds us.” -Alcoholics Anonymous p. 17
I thought of this line from the Big Book his morning as I went to work this morning, in the pouring rain. It was one of those mornings that my umbrella was whipped inside out from the wind and I became absolutely drenched despite my copious amounts of rain gear (luckily I packed a change of clothes and slippers).
As many of you know, I take a shuttle to work, sharing the ride with near strangers. While waiting for the shuttle to arrive (thankfully undercover) I stared out into the rain feeling as if I had survived. Suddenly, everyone started talking, a rarity as every other day everyone is staring down into their phones. A bond formed this morning as suddenly we all had one thing in common: we survived the rain.
This same feeling can be felt every time I walk into an AA meeting. Every alcoholic I know has an instant bond since we both know what it feels like to have survived the depths of hopelessness, fear, and the obsession. This is one of my favorite aspects of the program.
Included in this is the fact that I am not alone. I remember one of the first times I saw a therapist (prior to sobriety) and I was describing my feelings and wondered what was wrong with me. She kindly responded to me “well, you have a very common case of depression.” This instantly made me feel (a little) better because in that instant I wasn’t abnormal; if I was “common” I was not alone.
My disease is really great at trying to make me feel alone and different from the rest of the world. Fortunately I have meetings, my sober network, and you guys here to remind me.