This is part of that advice that we all receive as newcomers that accompanies, “Get a sponsor, work the steps.” Fortunately, I had the openness and willingness to follow that advice and for that I am very grateful.
I have a different meeting that I regularly attend for each day of the week. Some days alternate between a meeting during the day or an evening meeting, depending on work and other commitments. In a certain sense, each of these meetings acts as a kind of home group for me. My home group meets 5 days each week, but I attend at least once or twice each week.
These descriptive phrases help me understand what a home group is- there could be certainly be more:
- I am regularly there
- I miss only when it cannot be helped
- I have developed close relationships with others who attend
- I take positions of service at the meeting or in the name of the group
- I come early when possible and stay late at times
- I care about the meeting
- I celebrate lengths of sobriety at this meeting (mine and others)
- I encourage others to attend my home group
While I try to bring each of these to every meeting I attend, they are most particularly present at my home group.
I think each person should have the chance to hospitable, welcoming and of service in his or her own home group. It makes sense to me that each group is determined by its own group conscience. Every group I attend does not necessarily need my input to their conscience. I like the idea of benefitting from each group as they wish to have a meeting. Each group should be confident in its own way of doing things.
We hear at meetings that no one person speaks for AA. I also think that no one meeting speaks for AA. Pick a home group and contribute to its carrying of the message. Work to make the carrying of the message in your home group the best it can be. I have also learned that it is foolish for me to think that each meeting I attend has to meet my expectation of a meeting. I should accept to group’s hospitality, contribute graciously and willingly and depart gratefully.
When I am asked to introduce myself at a meeting as an out of town visitor, I am always excited to say, “My name is John and my home group is the 5:15 Happy Hour in Salt Lake City, Utah.”