Welcome Home

We are not primarily put on this earth to see through another, but to see another through. ~ Anon

One of the benefits of long term AA relationships and a home meeting is that people know my recovery process, can see the results, and they help me celebrate my progress. I am never quite alone. It used to be that I would feel alone in a crowd of 1,000 people or my own family. These days, I never feel completely alone. I pulled into the parking lot tonight and saw a few of my AA friends huddled in their many layers in their cars. We were all waiting to make the move. The door was locked. Pretty soon, along came some one who had the key.  I didn’t know we even had a key! There are many unsung heroes who do their service positions quietly and peacefully, never really seeking attention or thanks. Their reward for doing so is one more day of sobriety.

The only way to maintain sobriety is to give back freely what we were freely given. Consider the money, time, and energy you put into drinking and recovering from those drunks. All that time, money, and energy can be used more efficiently in staying sober. The rewards are too numerous to list here. Trust me, they can be had, if you simply work for them. Tomorrow is just another Monday. A whole new year awaits. This can be your first day of sobriety, if you will have it. Go to a meeting, pick up a 24 hour chip, and glue/tape 2 quarters to it. The next time you feel like booze will solve things, give us a call. You are never alone. Happy New Year and many happy returns (to AA). We will save you a chair. And, welcome home!

Swallowing Pride

Swallowing your pride is better than eating your words. ~ Anon

I tell you that one hit me right in the face today. This year and all of next year, I am involved in the running of two 12 step conventions. I have off and on over my years done just about every position on convention planning boards and committees. Each year, I try to do something of value for each of the two programs I am a member of. That keeps me busy. When my hands and mouth are busy doing productive things in service to others, I find that I have no energy left to get in trouble with those around me. Yes, even after all these years, I need to have G.O.D. = Good Orderly Direction. I get in trouble with unscheduled idle time. I enjoy resting and relaxing, but then after a few hours, I get antsy.

I appreciate that there is plenty of work to be done in the 12 step program. I feel needed and I feel productive. But, I do have to watch that I do not get too prideful in my work. I also have to guard against feeling as if that service position is my career or my job. My personality can get way too enmeshed in the title, the responsibility and the outcomes of my service work. So, working with others on a committee or a board stretches me. I get to learn how to take criticisms, let others take the lead, and most importantly teach others how to do the work I am doing.  The concept that we share responsibility in the work of AA is so important. It does my heart good to see those who are new in the program get up, go greet the newcomers, give out their contact number, and and offer to be of help. Let’s keep AA alive and well for the still suffering alcoholic. If you are not sure what to do, ask.

Home Group

We have two things in common: the dis-ease of alcoholism and sobriety. Looks for the similarities; not the differences. ~ Anon

The concept of having a home group in AA is a valuable one to embrace. I have lived in  few different states and cities over the  years, so setting up and keeping a home group on my weekly schedule has helped me get to know people in AA and my community much easier. As I have mentioned before, I am a bit socially anxious and a loner, so this is as necessary to me as unpacking my boxes after a move. Home groups offer a sense of home, where we have our elders, youngsters, a common bond (sobriety), we have chores to do, and we celebrate birthdays! Ergo, “home” group. For some of us, this is the only family we have in life. I like to call it “my tribe”.

I have moms, aunts,and grandmas in AA that have been my role models and have seen me through life’s ups and downs as a blood relative might have done in past generations. I got to learn how to age gracefully and go through changes in my body and life; that I would have had no clue of what to expect. Over the years, we have shared parenthood, grand parenting, aging, health concerns, deaths, and births, jobs, and retirement. When people wonder aloud how I can live alone, I need only remember the tribe I have around me, to realize that I am never ever alone. They are just a phone call or meeting away. That is the fellowship of AA promised in tradition #8.