Recently, a newcomer to our SA meeting was startingly frank. He let us all know he wasn't going to join in with much of the group protocol, like introducing himself or saying "Thank you for sharing." He said not to take it personally; he was just too proud. Also, he informed us he wasn't ready to do the work to get sober and thought the Steps were redundant.
It irked me at the time but then I recalled my own initial thoughts about SA.
My very first thought at my very first SA meeting was "Where is the d--n meeting?". I couldn't find it. My second thought, when I did find the room and saw five old men was, "Oh no, Perverted Grandpas Anonymous."
But my third thought occurred when one of the old men stood up and shook my hand, and another turned to me and said something like "You're not alone anymore" or "You're home." No stranger had ever said something that nice to me before. I felt comfortable. I didn't know it at the time, but it was probably that which ensured I was going to keep coming back.
When I saw the first step and "lives had become unmanageable," I believed that didn't apply. My life was pretty manageable - it was the sex thing that had gotten a bit out of hand. When the second step talked about "sanity", implying I was insane, I started to question whether whoever had written these was "all there."
"Higher Power" sounded abstract, kind of cultish and "conscious contact" sounded like a phrase from a séance: "Higher Power, we are trying to consciously contact you. Vibrate the table if you hear us."
But I was "polite" and didn't say anything.
We haven't seen the newcomer since, but as from every newcomer, I learned something. Maybe he didn't stay because I wasn't brave enough to tell him, "You're not alone anymore."