Another Sunday and we are in the month of March. It is still chilly out, but much better than it has been for a while. We are sitting at Zero at this hour, and temps are going to rise in the coming week up to tens, during the day. The usual rainfall that comes after the last snow is coming as well.
I had begun to write a piece Friday night, but it was getting a bit too verbose, and was all over the place, so I nixed it. We sat a fair group on Friday night, and I sat and listened for the hour. I had had discussions with a friend loosely related to the topic Friday night, so I really had nothing to say.
Our steering commitee met this evening prior to the meeting to talk about the future of our Sunday/Thursday combo meeting program. We opened a brand new meeting in French on a Thursday, and we reformatted the Sunday meeting, so both meetings are fresh and new.
We have hopes of what we would like to see happen, and to be able to attract folks to come and stay, which is still the issue at hand. With only a handful of members to do the jobs of the group, we hope that attraction grows.
We sat a small group tonight, and we read from the Big Book, and the story from the back, “It could have been worse.” We only read a couple of pages, about how someone took to the rooms and the program.
It wasn’t how far I had gone, but where I was headed. It was important to me to see what alcohol had done to me and would continue to do if I didn’t have help.
I was told that I must want sobriety for my own sake, and I am convinced this is true. There may be many reasons that bring one to A.A. for the first time, but the lasting one must be to want sobriety and the A.A. way of living for oneself.
A willingness to do whatever I was told to do simplified the program for me, Study the A.A. book – don’t just read it
This passage, now that I write it down, is what we talked about on Friday night, from the book A.B.S.I. and “Do as I do.”
I have always prospered when somone else was, simply, taking care of me, because left to my own devices, in most situations, my choices have not been that good, and it only has come about in the last period of sobriety, this time, that I have learned how to take care of me and others in my life, to the best of my ability.
I had had Todd … And while he was here, I was good. But as soon as he left, I was left alone and I just could not make it work for myself.
When I came back to sobriety, I spent those first few months, clearing my head and working on a plan of action to take my life back from the dead end it was stuck in and I ended up here.
I immediately connected, I was not alone, ever. And I did everything I was asked to do, I got involved in my sobriety and the lives of my friends. And the common thread that runs through this sober period of time is this one fact ….
I went to meetings, and I followed directions, but more importantly, I did NOT DO what my friends did. I skated above the water, listening and paying attention, and evry time someone went out, I noted what they did do, and what they did NOT do. I have mental files of problem that happened, and how they were dealt with, and why my friends chose to drink and use again.
I still do that, to this day. And over and over again, we’ve been hearing stories about folks who have been long sober, keep secrets and tell lies, and end up back out there drinking and drugging.
Watch enough people go out and you have the recipe for success.
Absolutely, Completely, Thoroughly, Honestly …
When I was a kid, they should have stamped on my forehead,
“You cannot drink, Period !!!”
I should have known better early on, but alcohol was good. And I was alcoholic from the very start. Every time I drank, my life became unmanageable. And I talked tonight about what I was seeing in retrospect.
Every time I drank, it was like jumping into the deep end of the pool, every time. In the beginning I was way over my head, in trouble. And somehow, some way, I always manged to rise again, and I would get out of the pool and stand on the deck for awhile.
But I would always find my way back to the pool, only to jump in once again.
My alcoholism came in waves. Each wave got bigger, and more dangerous. And finally I surfed that last wave that hit me full force, and I got sick. And Todd pulled me out of the pool.
I was on deck for a while, until he was no longer there, and what did I do? I walked over to the pool, and with one flourishing leap, I dove back into the deep end. This time there was no life presever, I was on my own.
An object that is in motion, stays in motion until affected by some outside force.
Thankfully, that outside force stopped my forward motion.
Alcoholism is cunning and waits us out, for that one moment, when we let our guards down, and it swoops in, and takes us down.
Having a terminal illness did not stop my alcoholism. It spoke to me like that serpent in the garden. It convinced me that I knew better and that a few secrets and a few lies were not going to hurt anyone, but me of course.
One learns a great deal about honesty, the longer you are IN. The more often you see your friends fall around you, some go, some return, others die in the process, you either grow up and get smart, or you go down with them.
And I for one, am not going down with the ship.
Sober twelve years, and I thought I was alright. I had read the book, and did several rounds of steps, going to meetings, and I was alright, so I thought.
Then Bob from NYC came along and lit the fire. I began to STUDY the book, not just read it. And over the past two years, I’ve studied the book, in group readings, via Joe and Charlie, and listening to slippers, find the book again, and hearing them talk about the book in new ways.
Parsing the chapters, into paragraphs and down to words.
I can still learn today. That book might be half a century old, and the words never change. The more we read them, and the more we study them, in new ways, through new eyes, and for some, old eyes, words begin to jump off the page.
That is one of the best gifts of sobriety, teachability …
I am so blessed to have the people in my life that I do. And that I am part of a community of sober men and women, who are on fire for the book.
Many people are put off by fire, and they resent and deny it. They are comfortable being comfortable, where they are, doing to same old thing.
Some of us heard the message at that Roundup that changed some lives, and we live that message today. And there are some, who want fire, and want life, and all the excellent adventures that have come from that work.
That is what we want for our people, to set them afire, to change their lives in ways they could not imagine could be.
Study the Book, don’t just read it.
A good night was had by all.