LET'S GET SERIOUS!
What a Wonderful World (.www) is Naples FL! Of course the location, climate, art galleries, museum, concert hall, symphony, Universities, i.e. Ave Maria, the quiet, warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico...all these make a wonderful world. Add to those attributes a conservative political attitude. The result is Naples is considered Utopia by several hundred thousand souls who have moved here since I did, 45 years ago.
But I am writing here about the wonderful world of recovery. Three treatment centers call Naples home now, the latest one a branch of Hazeldon. Four hospitals with detox units, several homeless shelters and more than a half dozen "half-way" houses also are right here.
This morning as I was leaving my regular 7 AM AA meeting, I found myself counting our blessings. There were nearly 100 Peeps at that Big Book-discussion meeting. The tone was serious. This IS life-and-death stuff, a fatal disease from which we are recovering, folks! We are old, young, a few well-to-do, many maybe not...with no interruptions of chanting or other kindergarten behaviors. Almost everyone has a sponsor, and most sponsor others. All of us, aside from this daily attendance, go to other meetings at noon or night, or just stay on for the morning 8AM and 9:30 AM, etc. Many of us are speakers away from our home group, supporting new groups as they form.
And so I notice that AA is well and very alive here in SW Florida. Along with me, a couple thousand others are fortunate that the few older groups here have spawned many new groups, and so we count now about 290 meetings each week.
We have a strong Intergroup, and very well-attended monthly District meetings. For some of us who have been sober here a long time, it is heartening to know what we have, and a challenge to keep alive the Traditions, so to keep what we have. But it IS happening, growth, solidarity, and continuation of the old-fashioned AA way of life.
The proof of what I have written above comes from the many visitors who find themselves at most meetings here. Invariably, I hear them saying out loud at meetings, things like, "Oh! I WISH we had AA like this where I live." Or, "We cannot WAIT to get back here next year--we come to Naples for the sunshine, yes...but mainly for the "brand" of AA you have here."
Please understand, our AA is not Utopian, as we are certainly far from perfect. Ha! But we ARE willing, and try to grow along spiritual lines. In that group of 100 this morning were three with less than one week of sobriety. God willing, they will be back tomorrow! In this place they usually do return!
At PEACE today!
Photo from Deviant Art: AA_by_InsideMe.jpg