It is a usual phenomena that discussions arise from topics at several meetings over days and weeks at a time. And the readings are repetitious because we read and reread the same books over and over again. Sometimes, we hit similar topics across several texts and when I sit down to write there is a coherent flow to the discussion.
Attending two fellowships that share books and ideas, there arises, at times, topics and discussions that are common to both, and writing towards both, sometimes falls right into place.
Yesterday we talked about “Are we there yet.”
This evening, I hit my Tuesday meeting. And we are in the back of the Big Book, and today’s story … He sold himself short. How the fellowship started in Chicago.
In the fourth edition, the first section of stories are from the first 100 founders, who were drunks, got sober in the 1930’s and subsequently started A.A. in their respective cities, in the U.S. and Canada. The Montreal story, of Dave B. falls in this section and tells the story about how A.A. came to Quebec.
Let’s return to Chicago.
In regards to yesterdays question of “Are we there yet,” We get this response from our man…
These last eighteen years have been the happiest of my life, trite though that statement might seem. Fifteen of those years I would not have enjoyed had I continued drinking. Doctors told me before I stopped that I had only three years to live on the outside.
This latest part of my life has a purpose, not in great things accomplished but in daily living. Courage to face each day has replaced the fears and uncertainties of earlier years. Acceptance of things as they are has replaced the old impatient champing at the bit to conquer the world. I have stopped tilting at windmills and, instead, have tried to accomplish the little daily tasks, unimportant in themselves, but tasks that are an integral part of living fully.
Where derision, contempt,and pity were once shown me, I now enjoy the respect of many people. Where once I had casual acquaintances, all of whom were fair-weather friends, I now have a host of friends who accept me for what I am. And over my A.A. years I have made many real, honest, sincere friendships that I shall always cherish.
I’m rated as a modestly successful man.My stock of material goods isn’t great. But I have a fortune in friendships, courage, self-assurance, and honest appraisal of my abilities. Above all, I have gained the greatest thing accorded to any man, the love and understanding of a gracious God, who has lifted me from the alcoholic scrap heap to a position of trust, where I have been able to reap the rich rewards that come from showing a little love for others and from serving them as I can.
Over the last twenty two years, I have heard doctors tell me that I was going to die a handful of times, in the beginning, I really was GOING to DIE, and over the decades I heard it again and just twice in the last ten years. I have outlived all those predictions, much to the surprise of the medical establishment.
The only things I can attribute my survival to are my resolve to live each day fully, to have learned how to pin point direct energy to serve me best, the medication I take daily, but most importantly, my faith in a God who sustains me.
If I had no faith, which I did not during the death march, I would have died. God, read:Todd, stepped out of heaven and onto earth in the vision of the man who saved my life from utter despair. I got to see, meet and live with God incarnate, I truly believe that to my innermost self.
Death brings life into perspective as in what I CAN do and what I DO do. This passage from the last two pages of the read resonated with our folks tonight. When the chips are down, and we think, we don’t have enough, or aren’t where we should be at any given moment on the continuum, we are reminded quite succinctly, what we DO get in the rooms.
You can’t put a price on respect, dignity, love and friendship. And the wisdom that comes when you stick and stay is invaluable. Not to mention, in my case, living through my 40’s now and learning what real wisdom is. That has been a theme in the 40’s. Wisdom …
If you tell folks that it isn’t in what you gain materially that matters, and that money is good, but having just enough is the lesson, how to make it, what to do with it, and what NOT to do with it. Living in Quebec, Anglo’s won’t get rich here. So you make do with what you can do to make what you can in salary. That is a recent bitter pill for some.
University Degrees, for the most part, aren’t worth the paper they are printed on, for many in this city. I don’t know many people who parlayed studies into degrees, be they B.A.’s, M.A.’s or PHD’s, into money spinners. And several of my friends went back out and drank after this happened to them. It happened to me too, two degrees not worth the paper, and no opportunities for a Religion and Theology major who is Gay to be had.
Sobriety is about the journey, and what we learn along the way. Showing up day after day, night after night, week after week, month after month, year after year, life changes the longer you stick and stay. And all this to say that life can be rich, even if you are not, because what we get together, is more important and is worth more, than what you might get on your own.
Are we there yet? Probably not. But you are HERE right now. So let’s remind ourselves, just what you have gained in staying, and what is possible.
Things that you cannot put a price on.
That matters …