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When I attended AA meetings I received a lot of attention.
At the time there weren’t a lot of young people in the meeting rooms, particularly women my age, so it was a new experience for me.
I blamed myself; I thought I had done something to provoke it, so much so that I thought maybe I had agreed to the interaction somehow without actually saying so. For some reason, I haven’t shared this story with many people, I think because I was embarrassed because I felt so stupid for putting myself in the situation.
Like many stories in my past, there is a lot of shame attached to my actions, but in this case, my actions weren’t the same as “I stole something”, “I lied” “I hurt someone”.
I will say my understanding of me at 21 is that I was, first of all, 21, so all the things that go along with being 21 applied. I hated myself, hated the way I looked, felt misunderstood, and less than all of my peers.It’s whispered about amongst members but it never seems to be addressed directly which could be attributed to the reliance on group conscience as a guiding hand, and if the issue isn’t discussed, it isn’t addressed.As a response to this issue, and it’s relationship to AA meeting rooms I think it is essential that we start talking about predatory behaviour more openly amongst ourselves as members of AA.People, mostly men, paid attention to me and for the first time in my life I felt seen. I had a couple of gentleman who were incredibly patient with me and who spent a lot of time trying to help me see that I was worth recovery however one interaction has lingered in my memory since that time.I attended a downtown meeting on a fairly regular basis in my hometown, and there was another regular attendee that everyone seemed to be friendly with, he seemed fairly innocuous and seemed to have friends in the rooms.