The Gift of Willingness

I did not have a white light experience when I took the third step with my sponsor, but, looking back I can see it was absolutely vital to my recovery. I learned I’d been given the gift of willingness. A gift that has kept me coming back and active in Alcoholics Anonymous consistently for more than twenty years.

I was two months sober after a lifetime of self-sufficiency. I had been force-fed the idea that I must run my own life, that asking for help is a sign of weakness. But there I was down on my knees holding my sponsor’s hand, repeating the prayer.  Frankly the whole experience felt weird.

It had been forty years since I last prayed on my knees — “Now I lay me down to sleep…” Holding my sponsor’s hand felt way too intimate for me.  And, as I stumbled through the prayer, it felt like I had my fingers crossed behind my back. I didn’t believe a word of it. Yet, I really, really wanted to be a member of the AA Club and guessed that this was part of the initiation rite.

I wasn’t a joiner. Before AA, the Cub Scouts was the only group I ever wanted to belong to.  I was not a member of the Rotary, the Elks Lodge or the Save the Whales committee. I joined business organizations only because it was expected of me. Yet when I walked into my first meeting, I sensed there was something special going on. I had no idea what it was but I wanted more. You said if I wanted what you had, I should do what you do. I figured everyone took the Third Step this way.

When we finished, my sponsor gave me a hug and said he loved me. Looking back, going through the discomfort of taking step three with my sponsor was exactly what I needed to prepare me  for the rest of the steps, especially step five. Through the years  I sponsor the men in my life the same way I was sponsored. We take the third step together just like Larry and I took it all those years ago. I’m still slightly uncomfortable getting down on my knees with a new man holding his hand and saying the prayer, but I do it anyways. It’s part of the deal.