Jerusalem N.A. was perfect for increasing my spiritual fitness after over two weeks of travel. My husband and I, both over 25 years in recovery, got centered, got our priorities in order, and got reminded to trust God and not worry about the little stuff. The bonus was that we met some awesome recovering addicts. The meeting we attended was in English, the first language of many of the addicts present. English was the second language for some, both Israeli nationals and expats or visitors from other countries. In the larger cities in Israel, there are meetings in Hebrew, Russian and English, often using the same venues just an hour or so apart. Visitors from Europe or elsewhere who speak another language, commonly German, French or Polish, often have enough English to participate in the English speaking meetings.
At Jerusalem N.A., we heard the same readings we hear in the U.S. and in other countries. While some addicts had accents, they said the same things that we say in meetings everywhere, speaking about universal problems and focusing on solutions found in recovery. Those in attendance looked the same as in this country: age range from teenagers to over sixty, a few dressed neatly as if coming from work, most very casual and a few disheveled.
We met those with jobs, those without, students, some living with parents, newly divorced, professionals and so on. We were greeted with the usual welcome hugs we have known all over the world. And what fun to meet another traveler from the U.S., one with 28 years of recovery! And, as only God could arrange, my husband ran into him the next day, he with his church group from Atlanta, Erik with our Colorado church group!
Most of all, we got our “Spiritual Radiation Treatment”, an infusion of recovery.
As I reflect on this meeting and the impact it had on my overall enjoyment of my travels, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for 12 step programs, several of them in my case. As an alcoholic who used any mind altering drug offered, I qualify for all kinds of recovery. I am the daughter of two alcoholic parents, and married to a recovering addict, so I easily qualify for Alanon. If I get really honest, I would admit that I have abused, and am still capable of abusing, many things, both substances and processes, so that qualifies me for even more 12 step groups. And I am thankful! I am thankful because I get to go to meetings where I am understood and accepted. I get to travel to the Middle East and find people just like me, those in recovery and attending a meeting to be reminded of the solution to our addiction: the steps, a Higher Power and each other. I get reminded that we are all God’s kids, here on earth doing the best we can do and ready to help each other, even in other countries.
Thank God for A.A, N.A. and other 12 step groups, and I thank the 12 step groups for introducing me to God!
Copyright Dawn V. Obrecht, M.D. April, 2013
Photo Courtesy of wikimedia