One of the things I remember most about the movie Lilo and Stitch is them talking about ohana…which means family. I found myself tonight at an AA meeting on the big island of Hawai’i by this name. (Yes, there is a good reason I haven’t posted much haha). Lover and I met some wonderful people at another meeting here, and they told us about the Ohana meeting. It’s an “eating meeting”, we’re told. “Come eat some Hawaiian food.” Sold. We came to the island on a private retreat, to a wellness center. There’s only one place to smoke in the area, everything else is off limits. Me, being the dirty dirty smoker goes off to find that area on the first day…only to find that the majority of those there are smoking the devil’s lettuce. Ok fine. I hang to the outer area, not really talking to anyone. Then I go back several hours later. More people are there this time, and it’s not tobacco in the pipe. They’re much friendlier, and tried to pass to me. Lover showed up right after this, and they tried to pass to him as well. There’s a part in the Big Book where it talks about only being around alcohol if you have a good reason to be there. Lover tells me he doesn’t- he doesn’t smoke so he will no longer join me at the tent. My wheels start turning. Do I have a good reason to be there? Is my nasty cigarette addiction reason enough for me to put my sobriety in jeopardy every time I need a smoke? I brought a long a bunch of nicotine patches for the plane rides, I have enough for the duration of the trip. So I did it. Three days without a single cigarette, and it’s fucking hard. Yes, I’m on the patch. Yes it’s worth it to not be around all the Mary Jane. However I feel like I’ve been in an anxiety attack for the last 24 hours. And that, brings me to the meeting. The anxiety has been building over the last day…it started surfacing about an hour or two before the meeting. We get there, grab some coffee, and sit. I sip my coffee, looking longingly towards the door where I know other sober folk are out smoking. They’d give me a smoke. Then relief hits. Something relaxed inside. I’m home. I’m with my people. AA is where I can walk into the room of strangers and everyone knows me and I know them. It didn’t really hit me until after I left tonight that the meeting name, Ohana means family. Those are my family. I’m still a basket case, I cried some on the drive back to the resort. I might smoke tomorrow. I make no promises. But today, tonight I’m sober and tobacco free. And my family was there giving me hugs and telling me they understood.