Laughing at my own story

Laughing at My Own Story

“If newcomers could see no joy or fun in our existence, they wouldn’t want it.” (AA 132)
Such was my experience when I attended my first SA meeting in Manchester, UK, back in the winter of 2003. SA was still very new here, and there were very few members, hardly any of them sober. There was no welcome, no joy, no message of a positive and joyful sobriety. “And this is what SA is all about?”, I thought.

So I went back to my old ways, until my disease almost killed me. Then I came back. It was 2007 and that summer there was a convention in Ammerdown, Somerset. Full of insecurity and anxiety, I decided to attend–more to please my sponsor than to please myself. There was joy and fellowship all around the house, but still the feelings of “inadequate, unworthy, alone and afraid” kept lingering in my life. So I was rather withdrawn and not very eager to connect. I wanted to be left alone. Then came Saturday evening, traditionally the “talent evening” in our conventions and, don’t ask me how, I put my name down.
I am an amateur mime artist and, as such, I observe peoples’ gestures and personalities in order to imitate them in mime. Still full of insecurity but eager to be “part of”, I did a presentation of different characters in our SA meetings. I did an impression of how the long-time sober member walks in, how the newcomer walks in, and some other clowning ways of behaving in a meeting. I imitated the angry member, the shy one, the very old member of SA walking in and not remembering his sobriety date, etc. To my surprise, people in the convention were roaring with laughter. I didn’t know that sexaholics could actually be people who laugh. Since then, I have been asked to do the same parody of an SA meeting at every convention I have attended.
That has been my way to take off a bit of the stiffness that I wrongly thought was the requirement for SA recovery. I now try to see the funny side of my old acting out days–the strange, the silly, the ridiculous. I have been very inspired by two AA nuns, Sister Bea and Sister Maurice, who share their stories of drinking in a really hilarious way. It is perhaps easier to tell funny stories about drinking than about acting out sexually. But my story, tragic as it is, has many ridiculous moments that a clown like me can magnify in order to make a point or to simply just laugh. Why not?


 Ruben S., UK

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