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fellowship friends aa members

One possible meaning of “Fellowship” as used in the program is the feeling of camaraderie and mutual support among its members. As in almost all cases where people are thrown together under traumatic circumstances, there develops a bonding among them which only the sharing of a common experience can bring.

Too often, however, I have seen the “Fellowship” restricted to a few select friends to the almost exclusion of other members. Further, who among us has not at one time or another been guilty of passing up the not so cleaned up and slightly boozey newcomer. The newer members may think “leave him to the old timers” and the old timers “let the newcomers have their turn.” In either case, the message has not been carried and “Fellowship” was not extended.

In assessing the importance of “Fellowship” we must look to the universal lack of self-esteem among people coming into the program. Recovery with any feelings of self-esteem must begin with the externals. They need people outside themselves reinforcing their value so that they may eventually come to believe in themselves.

As we move from our isolation into a group it is equally important that a person has a real sense of belonging. This can only come through the extension of “Fellowship” from all group members.

Finally, the application of “Fellowship” in its broadest sense is seen in groups where even though special friendships are developed, the members, (i) relate to each other as a whole, (ii) where members are assigned to greet newcomers, and (iii) when a member is to speak at another meeting it is announced to the group, and having been so informed, a number of the members attend that meeting in support of the speaker.

Group sponsored birthday cakes, cookies, sobriety chips, medallions and other celebration type activities are another form of “Fellowship” in that it brings the group together in a fun mode, and fun is certainly in short supply. I am eternally grateful for the “Fellowship” experienced in the “after the meeting” at a local coffee shop. I recall the theme of the 1984 Las Vegas Roundup, “Are you having any fun yet?” I am and I certainly hope you are too.

By Fred K., Central Bulletin, July 1985

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the AA Cleveland District Office.