Presenting at Kearns High was a privilege and a wonderful experience. I am glad I arrived early, as I was able to talk to Meg and Ryan for a few minutes after their class and see how their presentation went. Talking with them helped me to relax and realize this was very informal. They told me nothing was really off limits and to just be honest and tell your experience. I then talked with the teacher, for a few minutes, trying to get a feel for what the class structure was like, and what was really taboo. I was encouraged to hold nothing back in my story, and related my experiences with what it was in high school, and later on as my disease progressed.
I was the first to speak, so much of my sharing was introducing what AA is by reading the preamble, what it isn’t and stressing our singleness of purpose, a brief description of how it started, the 12 steps , how widespread and prolific AA is, where you can go to seek help, my understanding of the disease itself, the importance of working with others and the “one day at a time” concept, and even spoke of the spiritual principles we strive to live by and God (something I would have shunned when I was their age).
I mixed all this in while also sharing my story, kind of improvising. I had read much of the recommended literature, and was surprised when nearly all the students at the end of the class raised their hands when asked who wanted the literature. It was great being able to hear Katie’s story, and she did a wonderful job sharing her experience, strength and hope. I’d seen her around before, but never introduced myself, so it was nice to make a new friend. After we had both shared, we showed the class a couple short films and left enough time for ten minutes of Q&A.
Most of the kids were shy, but many soon opened up and were asking us questions about what my sponsor does (I began telling them my sponsor was retired and did consulting work on the side, and then realized they weren’t interested in his profession. DUH!) if there were meetings geared toward young people and how young were some of our members, are some steps harder than others, etc…
Afterwards we both got a round of applause, which was flattering and funny, and I felt greatly appreciated. I remember thinking that when I was their age I probably wouldn’t have taken much interest in some stranger talking to me about AA, and how I thought I would never become an alcoholic. If one seed was planted there that can help one person find the rooms of AA, I would feel that our job was well done.
Thank you again for the opportunity to speak.
Sincerely, Patrick R.