The photo of A.A. Co-Founders Bill W. and Bob S. is included with permission of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. (“A.A.W.S.”), all rights reserved. Permission to use this photo does not mean that A.A.W.S. has reviewed or approved this publication, or that A.A. necessarily agrees with the views expressed herein.
Building Bonds of Sobriety and Connection
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) has been a guiding light for individuals seeking sobriety in Maine since its inaugural meeting in 1944, held in Cape Elizabeth. Today, the State and southern New Brunswick host around 825 weekly AA meetings.
With a shared commitment to maintaining sobriety and helping others do the same, millions have discovered the vital support and fellowship necessary to live their best lives. AA offers a diverse range of meetings that take place at various times throughout the day and evening, ensuring that everyone can find an option that suits their needs.
According to C., a long-term member of AA, the program’s inclusivity and accessibility are evident. “You can find a meeting wherever you are,” she affirms, even recounting her experience of attending AA meetings on cruises. Overcoming the initial hurdle of attending that first meeting and returning can be challenging for many. To address this, AA members strive to extend a warm welcome to newcomers, group members asking themselves,
“Are we doing our best to help the newcomer?”
As C.C., another long-term member, explains, even a simple greeting, a handshake, or a cup of coffee can make a profound connection and inspire someone to stay engaged and keep coming back. Through sharing personal experiences, offering support, and sitting alongside them, members create a comfortable and welcoming environment.
In AA, newcomers come from diverse backgrounds, but their shared goal is sobriety. C. emphasizes that addiction does not discriminate, stating, “You can have a drinking problem and be an M.D. or a Ph.D. As my first sponsor told me, ‘You can come from Yale or jail.’ This disease does not care who you are.” D., who joined AA during his college years, highlights the importance of connection in recovery, stating, “You frequently hear, ‘The opposite of addiction is connection.’”
The concept of addiction often evokes a sense of isolation, making fellowship and relationships integral to the recovery process. D. reflects on his own journey, acknowledging that if he had felt alone in AA from the start, he might not have persevered. The power of identifying with others who have experienced similar struggles, coupled with the twelve steps, has been key to his recovery.
D. recalls how the sharing he heard at AA meetings mirrored his own thoughts, creating a sense of belonging and reassurance. “I know exactly how you feel. I’ve been there,” he recalls hearing, which warmed his heart and made him realize he was not alone. C., on the other hand, attended her first AA meeting with her sister, also in recovery, back in 1989. That marked the beginning of her own journey, which continues to this day. Reflecting on her past, she recognizes that alcohol governed her decisions, preventing her from experiencing the fullness of life. However, through AA, she found a path to sobriety and a newfound purpose. AA meetings provide a platform for celebrating recovery milestones, where individuals share their experience, strength, and hope.
The connections formed within the shared experiences of AA often evolve into lifelong friendships. C.C. speaks of the lasting bonds she has forged within the program, explaining how these connections extend beyond meetings. They share meals, embark on weekend getaways, travel, and enjoy recreational activities such as golfing.
These friendships are based on common interests and shared experiences, strengthening the sense of community and providing opportunities for personal growth and enjoyment. C. sums up her experience in recovery with gratitude and enthusiasm, stating, “I love my sober life. I have a beautiful life. Most days I am happy, joyous, and free.”
For more information about AA meetings in Maine and to access a list of meetings, visit csoaamaine.org.