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Hi All,

I wish I had known about the "pros and cons" approach when I was getting sober. Now I find it helpful to ask newcomers about what alcohol does FOR them as well as how it hurts them. For some people, it's the first time anyone has shown respect for their choice. When people trash us for drinking, it's even *more* humiliating that the actual experience and after-effects. But drinking DOES SOMETHING POSITIVE for us -- or we wouldn't do it. That's human nature. So it was important for me to (eventually) put that on the table and look at it side by side with the ways it hurt me.

I've been thinking about meetings, too. I go to a small beginners meeting where we all go to coffee afterwards. For several weeks, a somewhat older, shy woman has been tagging along. Recently we talked about our new year's eve THIS YEAR -- not even going back to "greatest hits"! She jumped in, saying Well, THIS year I was so depressed I slept through the whole thing!

The entire table turned to look at her in disbelief -- disbelief that she even thought that was so unusual one should mention it! I contributed my two cents: Well, if you slept through it you obviously didn't know there was a a marathon of "What Not TO Wear" on The Learning Channel. (Last year there was a "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" maarathon on that channel, with the same outcome...). Oh, she complained, she didn't even do her laundry. My buddy piped in that yesterday her mom flew in from LA to help her because she was too paranoid to bring her laundry to the basement.

My point is, if we don't go to meetings we don'thear these (and many other) wonderful things. We continue to think that we're unique and hopeless. The first time I heard in a meeting that other drunks were occasionally, um, promiscuous, a heavy, dark cloud lifted from my heart.

Fagen, I hope you find some of that experience here and at meetings.

With Love in Service,
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