Every so often, one is in the right place at the right time, to hear a message that speaks directly to you. A few days ago, I said something in a meeting, about myself. Tonight, I heard those same words, spoken back to me, confirming that observation I had made about myself was, indeed, true.
Those words are: “When I Think I Need!”
Our lady speaker tonight, is the sponsor of one of our members of the Thursday meeting. Our speaker is 74 years old, and has been sober, more than 44 years. She comes from Old World Montreal, and Griffintown.
For the history buff, Griffintown, is located in a very desirable location in the city. It is in the East end, and close to Old Montreal. A very long time ago, the only desire of folks who lived in Griffintown of old, was to GET OUT OF GRIFFINTOWN, and not go back.
It was said tonight, how ironic that many of us could not afford to get into Griffintown today. Because real estate prices are astronomical. Way back when, Griffintown was a terribly POOR section of the city. Many had next to nothing, but family, and whatever two nickles they had to rub together.
Come from nothing, stories of alcoholism, are fraught with pain and serious issues.
We laughed and we were struck, stone cold silent, too.
Two things that stuck out for me tonight. One, she mentioned a story about the old television game shows, like Let’s Make a Deal, and The Price is Right. The venerable Monty Hall and Bob Barker. Two men, the world over, came to know very well, if you grew up, in the era, of these shows among many others.
When I was a boy, my mother’s mother, Memere, spoke very little English. Coming from Quebec, she was entirely French. And in those days, she used to talk to me in French, that I remember. To help her learn English, Learn how to grocery shop in English, and Learn her numbers, so forth and so on, watching TV game shows was what we did daily.
The second thing that struck me was, ” When I Think I need …” I heard her say these words, at the tail end of her share tonight. It came back to me this way, because the other night, we were talking about Step One, because a newbie was in the room.
I have said, in the past, that the first time I was getting sober, the messaging was way off. And because of that, I did not stick and stay. And I surely did not trust a single soul, that they would honestly, have my back, and know better than myself, what was good for me.
At one point, sitting in a late night meeting, my brain went into “I Think I Need” mode. And got stuck there for a very long time. I did not know any better, knowing for sure that I could not or would not trust anyone, with what was going on in my head.
Suffering from “I THINK I NEED, and, The HOLE IN MY SOUL” I was going to end up in really big trouble. At the time, I put my plan into action, I had no idea, what I was going to end up doing and sacrificing, to fill that HOLE.
I know today … that if I even Think that I need something … it is probably true that I really don’t need anything, but MORE A.A.
The second time when Todd (read: God) stepped into my life, turning my will and my life over to Todd (read:God) on a daily basis, taught me, what it was I really needed.
AND THAT WAS TO STAY OUT OF MY HEAD AND TRUST GOD FOR EVERYTHING.
Even today, I sometimes find myself lacking in this department. But I am more mindful of my thoughts, and my decision-making skills. Lately, my memory has been off. And I find that disturbing. When I need a pick me up, I know that all I have to do is close my eyes, and picture Todd (read:God) in my mind’s eye.
I know today, that I need very little.
I know who to turn to and who to trust. I know who has my back and who it is that will tell me surely, quite honestly, “Maybe you just need to sit and stay a bit harder!”
The words are here, in the program. The people are here, in the program. The answers are here, in the program. 44 years of sobriety, coming from the world of having not very much, and ending up in serious trouble, over and over again, miracles do happen.
At one point, our lady friend tonight, was summoned to her medical office at work, and the doctor had asked her to look at herself in a long mirror. By that time, she was young and pretty. On the flip side, she had not bathed in weeks, deciding to wear the same old clothes, and just adding a compliment of makeup and baby powder to her wardrobe.
The doctor looked at her and said … “Look at what you have become!” He took out his trusty little pad, and began to write. On that slip of paper, he jotted down a number for A.A. and told her that WE had the answers she needed.
WE, as THEM, Back in the Days, when I was just a child …
Thank God for people who work the phone lines. You don’t hear it very often, people actually admitting that it WAS the phone line that got them in the door, but way back when, before the dawn of a cell phone, or the internet, for God’s sake, there was the phone, that brick that usually was stuck to your kitchen wall, or on your bedside table.
As a kid, I had both. A phone in the kitchen, and later on as a teenager, I had a phone in my bedroom, hard-wired into the wall. With a ten foot cord …
She took that number and thought to herself, maybe I should make that call.
It was a good thing she did.
It took a while, but at one point, members brought a meeting to her home. And very gently, after astute observations of her in the meetings, that “She might feel better if she washed herself.” Because, in early sobriety, she could not bathe herself, opting for the more makeup and baby powder route.
We hug in A.A. A LOT.
People would hug her and come away with a layer of baby powder on their clothes, wondering just what she had inside of her clothing.
She bathed for the first time in a very long time.
That was the first miracle for her.
44 years later, many more miracles followed.
We all know what they are tonight. I laughed with her and I was struck silent by much of her story. And several times, while she spoke, I kept asking myself …
For God’s sake … When is the miracle going to happen for her ?
The story was long and arduous. Many people, who come from the world of “not much to very little” have stories unlike the rest of us. And it is well and good that we hear these stories, because it keeps the rest of us humble and grateful for small mercies.
Alcohol is capricious and very capable of removing every good thing in our life.
The good thing is, Once we come in, time and time again, miracles happen, and very often, we get to hear the good stuff, when people get things back in sobriety.
I am grateful for sobriety today.