Where hope is restored

Where hope is restored

Each January my husband and I visit our son in South Florida.   Frequently he invites us to attend open AA meetings.  It’s a glimpse into a world few who are not addicts or alcoholics get to see, or perhaps even want to see.

For me AA meetings are intensely interesting.  In South Florida they are huge.  It’s not uncommon for 100 or more men and women to gather.  There are tales of inspiration and hope within the grasp of almost anyone who wants it.  I am witness to reflections of sadness and profound suffering, fear, shame and isolation.  But I also hear renewal, pride in long-term recovery and a life restored.  If this one young man can find his way, then others can, too.

This year, however, these meetings emit a somber tone.  Whether in church or clubhouse, nearly each time the lead speaker begins with reference to “our friends who have died.  Too many of them.  Two, just last week.”  Young men in their twenties.  Breathing and laughing yesterday.  Silenced and gone today.

They say addicts who continue to use will wind up in one of three places –  jails, institutions or death.

The finality of death hits these groups hard.  For many it will be the first time they attend a funeral.

At the end of the meeting, everyone stands and forms a large circle.  One hundred pairs of hands clasp a neighbor’s, fingers entwined and eyes closed, as they say the Lord’s Prayer.  Behind eyelids shut tight, voices rise in unison, lifting spirits, bringing peace, and sending these young lives out into the cool, star-lit night.

The meeting begins with Death.

But it ends with Hope.

6 Replies to “Where hope is restored”

    1. Thanks for writing Mary. It helps to know real people are reading.
      I appreciate it.

  1. Thank you Lisa, I could picture that room, hear the voices and feel the clasped hands. I remember my son’s pride when I was there witnessing his first chip. That was a very good day.

    1. Margie, if it brought you any good memories, I am glad alone for that.
      Here’s to Daniel and the joy he was in your life.