AA Unity

I wasn't looking to reconnect with life when I walked into my first AA meeting, but that's exactly what happened.  I wasn't a joiner. Intimacy made me uncomfortable. I had just spent eight months in isolation getting drunk twice a day. There was no one else in my life and I liked it like that. If I had my way, I would have hung out on the outside of AA, separate and apart. Thankfully, when the men in my first home group found out I was new, they reached out and pulled me through the door.

I was shocked when the sharing began. I had never heard anyone share honestly about their lives before, certainly not my golfing buddies at the country club. I was more surprised to learn these men knew all about me. They were talking about themselves but they were sharing about me -- about my campaign of self hate, my fears and insecurities, and my fragile ego. Their stories were different from mine, but the feelings they drank against were exactly the same.

The group broke into riotous laughter when one sad-mouthed young man shared his solutions to his relationship "issues." It was the first time I had laughed, really laughed, in years. I wasn't laughing at him, I was laughing because I had tried every one of his solutions at one time or another. Perhaps it was the laughter more than anything that kept me coming back in those early days.

I remember one of the men shared when he took a couple of drinks he couldn't stop until the booze was gone, his money was gone, or he was locked up. I realized I never wanted to stop after two drinks either. As other men shared about their bottoms, what happened and what their lives were like today, I had hope AA would work for me too. I wanted what you had and I was graced with the willingness to do what you did.

After the meeting a number of men surrounded me in welcome, gave me their phone numbers and invited me to breakfast. They told me to get a sponsor, work the steps, keep coming back and don't drink no matter what. As I walked out of the meeting room to my car I had the sense I had found my way home. I learned I can't stay sober, but "We" can.

Living in the Present

I was three and a half years sober when I lost a job I thought was much too good for me.  It was my first job in sobriety and had taken me 14 months to find. Now here I was again out on my butt --  sabotaged by my character defects. The voices in my head were screaming what a loser I was. It was the only time in sobriety I was  seriously tempted to drink, but because I had a solid foundation in AA, I picked up the phone and called my sponsor instead of picking up a drink. He said go and share it at a meeting. Boy, I really didn't want to do that! But I did it anyways.

The next couple of days were the most fearful of my life, but I continued to take the actions suggested. I worked the steps around the job loss, saw my character defects up close, and made amends to the people I had hurt. The dark cloud lifted after a week of hand-to-hand combat with my demons and surrendering through the steps. As the fear dissipated, I was left with the certainty that somehow (I certainly did not know how) everything was going to be okay. It turned out 100 times better than okay.

Life seems to be about old doors closing and new doors opening. A number of doors magically opened and a few months later I was on my way to China to begin a brand-new job and a brand-new life. I am absolutely convinced this would never  have happened without taking the suggested actions that reconnected me to God and you.

The slogan on the wall says First Things First. I cannot hope to become aware of the new doors opening in my life, if my mind is jumping around between the past and future like an ant in a hot pot. The only time I can have a spiritual experience is now. The program of Alcoholics Anonymous helps me quiet the disturbance, quell the fear, and come back to the present moment. It's simply a great way to live!

It Works If You Work It...

Recently I hit another bottom with self-centered anger. I felt I wasn't being accorded the respect and honor someone of my lofty status deserved, so I went into my King Baby routine. I sat in my adult high-chair with my floppy baby hat, banging on the fold-down table with an over sized spoon. "Pay attention to me!" I demanded. When no one did, I decided to hold my breath until my face turned purple. That didn't work either.

Finally I realized my self-centered behavior was only hurting me. I was the one suffering, not them. I said a short prayer, asking HP for help and almost immediately my equilibrium was restored. How did I sink back down into the cesspool of my own thinking? How had I kicked myself out of heaven?

An honest look at my program showed I had been coasting for a while. I had been going to meetings and playing the part of the wise sponsor, but my daily practice of steps 10, 11 and 12 had fallen by the wayside. I had been giving lip service to my own interior work and, predictably, I ended up in a ditch.

I'm no saint, but in exchange for keeping me sober, I promised my HP I would live to good purpose. I cannot do this unless I continue to grow and change and that is exactly what the steps help me do. Meetings and sponsorship alone don't cut it for me. I demonstrate my willingness to grow but doing everything that's suggested, not just the fun stuff.

Life is unfolding exactly as it should. If it was supposed to be one iota different, it would be. It gives me a great sense of comfort to know I am always experiencing my highest and best good, even when I'm sitting in my high-chair.