I know they have suffered in the same ways I have, in their struggles to deal with that "cunning, baffling and powerful" disease: had the same feelings of intense frustration and despair: most likely made some of the same
I know that I can learn from those whom I've met for the first time two weeks ago - we don't have to be close friends in order for me to gain insight from their willingness to share and to offer their experience, strength and hope. All that's required from me is an open mind, and that I pay attention when people are sharing. An open mind means that even if I've attended a meeting for the first time and not liked it as much as some of the others, I continue to go back, because that "not liking" may have had more to do with my state of mind, expectations, or physical comfort than anything to do with the people in the group, or the way the meeting is run. I had yet another example of this last night, when I went for the second time to a specific meeting, although I'd felt rather depressed after the meeting last week. I've learned that my situation can sharply affect my perceptions, and my situation is that I've recently left a long-term marriage, with all of the stresses that includes.
I'm grateful for all who take the time to attend meetings and give back what was given to them when they were new. My first sponsor used to say this to me whenever I'd suggest that I didn't feel like going to my home group meeting because I was tired, or busy, or distracted, or lazy - she'd give me that steely look, and ask what would have become of me, if everyone in the group in the very first meeting I'd attended, had decided to stay home and watch tv? I quailed before that prospect, and went to my meeting.