Most of the time when a teacher tells us to do an assignment, I don’t understand it. I obviously do the assignment because I know that it is expected of me, but a constant question I ask myself is, “Why do I have to do this?”
This is what happened for my Community Project in my Advanced Health class. My teacher told the class that we had to do some health related activity in the community. The options we had were shadowing a health professional, scheduling a guest speaker, or attending an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.
The preparation for both the guest speaker and shadowing seemed to be rather difficult to do quickly. So some of my classmates and I decided that we had to attend the Alcoholic’s meeting to fulfill the requirements for the assignment.
I thought that this would be a waste of time, but I’ve never expected to learn so much.
I walked into the meeting and right away, I felt a wave of tension and awkwardness. It may have just been a mindset, but I could not shake the dampening feeling off my shoulders.
We then walked into a room. Right away, it was not what I expected. There was a conference table with what I thought were Bibles on it. Later, I found out they were well thought out books titled "Alcoholics Anonymous". These books were filled with methods of breaking free of addiction and words that sparked hope.
But, the awkward feeling did not lighten right away. My classmate and I were one of three people in the meeting. Only one of us was an alcoholic besides the instructor.
After we started speaking, the feeling of negativity lifted off my shoulders. I began to felt a sense of comfort and opened up about my experience of learning I had an uncle who died because he was hit by a drunk driver.
I learned the most from a man who walked in 45 minutes late, primarily telling our empty room the journey he had to take to get here.
He was celebrating over six months of sobriety. He spoke with great pride when telling us he could finally own a home, get a job, and fix simple problems in his life. Things that I thought was expected of 36 year old man.
But, the thing he talked about most was that he could, finally, meet his 13 year old daughter. His alcoholism prevented him from witnessing the childhood of his own child. He said he thought his daughter was finally ready to meet him and fully understand why she hasn’t met him all these years, even though he lived in the same town.
I realized then how detrimental addiction is to a person’s life. I realized that alcoholism isn’t just a person who loves to drink. But a person who is just ill with addiction. They should be treated like any other person, if not with more respect because alcoholism is something that seems very hard to overcome.
Alcoholism is so hard to overcome that people celebrate 24 hours of sobriety.
I also realized that I need to do a better job of appreciating the small things in life. As of now, when I am 36, I expect to have a house, a husband, and a few children. But, if that happens for me at any time, I should appreciate it and love every moment of it. Some people don’t even have the things we deem necessary in life.
All in all, the outlook I gained on life through this quick Alcoholic’s meeting I will always cherish. I never thought I would learn more things, that a textbook could not teach me, through a single school assignment.
If there is ever an event that you’re dreading. Go into it with an open mind. You’ll never know the things you learn unless you try.