The Birthday Month

The Birthday Month

In the church hall 200 people sit in rows of folding chairs awaiting the night’s main speaker.  Eyes face forward.

The leader opens with a wide-grinned apology.  Tonight’s AA meeting may go longer than an hour.  It’s “birthday” night.

One evening each month the group recognizes members celebrating their annual sobriety dates during that month.  Tonight there will be ten.  My son is among them.

After the speaker ends her powerful tale of finding recovery through women in the program, the honors begin.  One by one the “birthday” people are called to the podium, each by someone chosen to introduce them.  It’s all timed.  No more than one minute per speaker. There’s even a volunteer who holds up a warning at 30 seconds.

In tonight’s “class” there are three fathers, recovered alcoholics themselves, honoring their sons and daughters for achieving sobriety.  It’s touching and unusual, this act of generational recovery.

I watch through misted eyes as each person is introduced.   Achieving the first year’s sobriety is always a milestone.  First up is a well-dressed young man in his teens.  At two years, there’s a man in his thirties. At four years a woman in her 40s, newly married. Men in their 20s, 30s, and 40s express newly-gained serenity.  Years in recovery range from one to thirteen.  My applause blends with the roar of clapping hands.

Now it’s Jacob’s turn.  He takes the stage for his 60 seconds and delivers a message this audience needs to hear:  Get a sponsor.  Go thru the steps.  Find a home group.  Pray every day.    

After we stand and clasp hands, the Lord’s Prayer rising to the church rafters, the throng breaks into huge hugs and high fives.  That embrace will carry these brave men and women into the next day, the next week, the next year.

And as we leave the church, hugging our son, I pray silently for all these men and women. May they one day have their own podium-moment to celebrate their “birthday” with those who love them.





4 Replies to “The Birthday Month”

  1. Lisa, bless you and son, Jake ” Real Good” always! Love, Peace , and Hope always! Pam and I will see you and Dick later today.