Where hope lives

Where hope lives

I am sitting in a large community-based fellowship hall with some 50 people. Most are in their 20s and 30s.  There are many who are older, too.

This is an AA meeting in South Florida.
My son has invited me. He attends this gathering every week, arranging his work and social schedule always to be present.

Similar to many AA meetings, a speaker begins and recounts part of her life story.
She comes from a solid family.
It doesn’t matter how or why her addiction began.

What matters is that she is willing to share her wisdom with others. Seven years into sobriety, she has a lot to share.

The men and women are quiet. They sit in rows of folding chairs, very still.
They know the story. Or parts of it.

Maybe the basics are the same, but in the telling of these stories week after week they build a community. No one judges another. No one here is alone.

The isolation that addiction brings begins to ease. Here there are peers they can trust.
In this open, quiet space they learn from one another. And they celebrate the hard-won victories over what ensnares them all.

Within the hush, in the faces of these young men and women, what is most palpable is hope.
Against the soft din of their voices I close my eyes and silently send up a prayer.

May the calm that blankets this room find the mothers and fathers of all these children so they, too, may know that hope lives.