Tonight we welcomed the maiden to Montreal. She tempted us this afternoon, and I knew it was coming, and I was rewarded with what I consider, one of the most important spiritual experiences of the year … The first snow.
We have spent the better part of the last eleven months watching the seasons come and go. Most of the trees are now bare, Fall has come and gone, so to speak. As I exited the church, I was greeted with snow falling on the yard. This is the night I have waited for, for months. I have the right music for the occasion, and I walked home and thought of the maiden and I welcomed her once again, in my heart of hearts.
We have shut the windows for the last time this season. And now the stillness and calmness and the quiet of winter descends upon us. And that is the quiet that one either appreciates or hates. Everything gets very quiet as snow begins to fall.
There are places, on any regular given day, that one can escape to for quiet. A church … A synagogue, A mosque. Montreal has such wonderful spaces that welcome people from all over the world and from our city as well.
Now the entire city becomes one GIANT cathedral where we can commune with the maiden for the season.
And in the past, the season has shown us that, by the end of the season, people are full and ready to get rid of the maiden as quick as she came in, to usher her out because the multitudes tired of her all too quickly.
Now the city becomes that church, that synagogue, that mosque. This is the season where one can go outdoors to listen to the silence. And in sobriety, I have learned to welcome, and also appreciate the silence. For it is in that silence that we find our heartbeat, our breath.
For without them, we are dead.
**** **** ****
It was a quiet weekend. Really cool things are happening for our people, and for my guys. You never know when God is going to give you an opportunity to reach out in the way, that could only be described as a spiritual experience. And that is the kind of weekend it has been for us.
After more than a year of Sundays, our little group that could, completed an entire read through of the Big Book. The last Story in the Book, A.A. Taught him how to handle Sobriety … was our reading for tonight.
We have explored the entire book from cover to cover. In essence we have worked rooms full of people through the book and through their steps. We’ve read all the stories, good, bad and in between.
And on page 559, we get the final thought of the book, and a handful of folks picked up on it.
” We are taught to differentiate between our wants (which are never satisfied) and our needs (which are always provided for). We cast off the burden of the past and the anxieties of the future, as we begin to live in the present, one day at a time. We are granted “the serenity to accept the things we cannot change” – and thus loose our quickness to anger and our sensitivity to criticism.”
That’s the program of recovery in a nutshell.
Now is the time to grab hold of our people. Now is the most important time of the year. The silence descends. the cold gets colder, and people begin to fade into the background. It is well known that when it either rains or snows, people stay home, rather than venture out. That is a very enticing invitation to indulge.
The holiday season is ripe with temptation to drink again.
Now is the time to reach out to our elders, and those who are alone. Now is the time for you to reach out to your friends, fellows and neighbors. To make sure that they have food, warmth, and someone that cares about their welfare. Not that we shouldn’t do that every day, and for the most part, who has time to pay attention to anyone else but themselves?
That is our job.
I heard a common topic rise in the minds tonight. The most important two words in this story.
At one point we made a decision to stop drinking. Now the most important part of that decision is to
STAY STOPPED …
And how do we do that?
By going to meetings, talking to others, sharing with our sponsors, and each other. By suiting up and showing up as often as we can. Because most folks come because of their friends, to see them and to talk to them.
But selfishly, we need to show up for ourselves as well.
Because you may have time. But if you aren’t actively progressing through “THE WORK” you aren’t doing anything but warming a chair. And that untreated alcoholism will take you down, with a simple whisper … “aw, come on, you don’t need them, you are ok, it’s just one drink, nobody will know?”
It’s that little demon in our souls. The disease that says we don’t have a disease. The one that attempts to lull us into a false sense of security. It worms its way into our brains and takes root. We all have it. Some might deny it, but for many, tonight, we heard the warning.
I admitted that being not perfect is a good thing sometime. That little voice in my head is devious, vindictive, mean and angry. That fantasy of doing something really grandiose and stupid is always there. And the only way I get rid of it is my ability to talk, go to meetings, and talk it out.
Oh, did I mention that working with another alcoholic is the best guarantee we have against the drink?
But obviously, you cannot transmit something you haven’t got.
Staying Stopped is a job, a vocation. A way of life. In for a penny, in for a pound.
It is ALL or NOTHING.
How many people do you know who are all or nothing kind of men and women?
What are you going to do for your fellow men and women this season? Are you going to sit on your ass and do nothing, safely saying, aw, it’s not my problem? Or are you going to choose to step up and say, I can be accountable. I can be reliable. I can help you !
We are not meant to be alone. Especially now. This is the most miserable season for many an alcoholic. and especially those who come in prior to / or just after the holidays. So many parties, so much alcohol, so little time to ponder what to do.
If we don’t step up now, we may loose a good number of our folks to temptation.
For many of us we have learned how to handle sobriety. Now is the time to reach out to our fellows and lead them through the minefield that is the holidays, one day at a time.
When I got sober this time around, all I wanted was to never drink again. In a few weeks it will be thirteen years, I’ve kept that promise to myself and to God.
God has done for me what I could not do for myself.
” I get everything I need in A.A. – and everything I need I get. And when I get what I need, I invariably find that it was just what I wanted all the time.”