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„Thank God it’s Monday“

                        

“I’m glad I’m sober today”                        “It’s a 24/7 programme”

On Mondays the anonymous alcoholic group ‘Thank God it’s Monday’ gathers for an open meeting in the city centre of Amsterdam. We were welcomed as guests and could make our own impression of the life of an alcoholic person.

By Jennifer Pompe, Juanma Fiñana, Quynh Nguyen

Photos by Jennifer Pompe

Room

“Oh you’re visitors? You know, we need to get drunk first before holding this meeting, right?” were the first words of the leader of the anonymous alcoholic group. We didn´t know if we should laugh or not since we never attended such a meeting.

The twelve steps

It started with a person reading out ´The twelve steps´, guidelines to fight alcoholism, and continued with a ten-minute meditation silence. It was very difficult to stay focused and serious since we didn’t have the same emotions and thoughts as the rest of the group. Those ten minutes were more stressful than relaxing to us because we were not used to it and had to fight with bursting out in laughter.

Then, everyone had to introduce themselves by saying ¨Hi, I´m … and I´m an alcoholic¨ and the group replied with ¨Hi …¨.

Once it was our turn, we felt a bit uneasy. The reason for it was that we simply didn´t know if we should say ¨Hi, I´m Jenny and I´m a non-alcoholic¨ or just ¨Hi, I´m Jenny.¨ In the end we introduced ourselves as visitors.

Around 50 people showed up and we were astonished by the diversity: Men and women, old and young, Dutch and expats. They were sitting around the table, drinking coffee and eating cake, and listened to each other´s stories.

Guideline

It was amazing to see how the story of an older woman had a lot in common with the story of a young man in his 20´s. Although it was an anonymous meeting, everyone shared their deepest fears and emotions with the group.

Words like, ´restless´, ´empty´, ´pain´ were used.

After an hour the meeting finished and everyone stood up and held each other´s hands. We all stood in a circle, said one last prayer and our ways separated.

¨I hope you won´t have to come again to this meeting as an alcoholic in the future,¨ said the leader and again we didn´t know how to react.

`The twelve steps´

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