Trudging the Road of Happy Destiny …
It’s 3:30 a.m. on Monday morning. And hubby is asleep in the bedroom, late night radio is droning on with stuff I really could not care less about. It is about this time that I shut off the computer and crawl into bed with a book.
I usually follow the same routine whatever night it is. I thought that I would open a page and start writing a stream and see what comes out. It has been a week full of people and personalities. And I am doing what I do best … meetings and service.
I get up early and my weekly routine consists of three meetings a week and maybe church on Sunday, however, I haven’t been very “religious” about my Sunday observances. I should get back on to that.
I try, on meeting nights, to get to the meeting early. The “get there early and stay late” practice is something I try to do. And I find when I do that I can participate in the lives of my friends much more when I am present.
Presence is the greatest gift we can give our friends.
It does not necessarily mean that we have to speak, but we do get to listen. And I find that my friends are used to the “meeting before the meeting” and the hug. And the shaking of hands and the greetings for visitors as they come down the stairs.
Like I said in an earlier post, Sunday’s it seems is the day for visitors from far away places. Be they famous or just regular salt of the earth folks. The Sunday meeting is a great place to people watch.
Sitting out front of the church and greeting people as they walk up the drive is very heart warming. Tonight for instance, an older man with a cane visiting from Los Angeles walked up on us hanging outside and as he walked up he commented, “Why this looks like there is an AA meeting here!”
A second guest at the meeting remarked that she felt at home because someone was at the door to shake her hand. Just that simple task of being present, presents itself. You never know what is going on in someone’s life when they come down the stairs or approaches from the street, what burden they are carrying deep down.
And I guess it is a good thing that I have some time, and sometimes some speak to me about their pain, and I can offer a kind word and say that the pain will pass and the noise in your head will pass and in time you will find the silence you crave.
That Power Greater than Ourselves never gives us too much that we cannot handle, and meetings make it possible for folks to drop their burdens on the table for a time so that they too can gain perspective from those of us with good amounts of time under our belts.
And it isn’t about pious sanctimonious crap, if the opportunity presents itself, I try to find the right words to say, even if they are simple or stupid.
I have kept this routine of Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday meetings steady for a long while now and I made Sunday my second home group where I do service since I have keys to the church it serves me well to be there.
It’s amazing what accountability does to you when you are a key holder. Entire meetings hang on the one who has the key to the door. And the one who makes coffee, because folks like their coffee strong and dark. And the earlier it is ready the better. Nobody likes waiting for that damned little orange light to come on, people need their coffee and sooner than later.
It seems that the first thing an alcoholic needs is a good cup of coffee and some sweets, they get into their groove and find a seat and you can visibly see the load come off their backs as they sit down and take their first sip of coffee.
One thing that stood out at the meeting earlier tonight was gratitude. Why do we read the prefaces and the forwards? Why is it important? Because the book includes them at the front of the book, and isn’t the purpose of a book to read all the words from cover to cover?
I like that thought about the first page in the book being blank … And that when we first open that book, we are just like that blank page, when it comes to our problem with the drink. Hence the book tells us to “Read the Book!”
It is strange listening to folks share on the forwards. Some find them boring, some find them interesting for the historical data. Some get a bump from reading about the founders and just what a gift those founders gave us in writing this book. For some the gratitude comes quickly and for others it comes in time.
Each “gets the book” each according to their gifts. Some people take the book home when we give it to them and they rifle through it end to end and come away with absolutely nothing on the first pass. Which is abundantly clear why we need to read the book with them in a group setting.
I have heard in the past that the longer you are sober the more internal the journey becomes. Over the first decade you deal with the wreckage and you clean up the carriage, so to speak. Ten years on, I am looking at the next portion of my journey.
The beginners meeting is the place that we introduce to the newcomer and the one with time, the books. For the next six months at least, we are reading the Big Book on Sunday nights. Cover to cover. And that may take a long time to do so in manageable chunks with discussion on what we have read.
On Tuesday we work with three primary texts, the Big Book, The Twelve and Twelve, and Living Sober. So there is no shortage of opportunity to work on sobriety in depth than reading the books with us.
I really enjoy reading with my fellows. Women. Each and very one of them. They live, breathe and pray those words on the page. They read, and they write and they pray and then discuss amongst themselves, they write gratitude lists and call each other every day. Then they bring that knowledge to a meeting and read the same passages again with the rest of us, and it is there that gratitude rises.
It might be a paragraph, or a sentence, or just a single word …
And the light rises … The AHA moment appears …
There is subtle nuance and compassion in the texts. And like I have shared here already, that every time I read something in a group, I learn something new about the book, and my sobriety. And I learn what that particular person has learned about that exact passage or word, and how it impacted them.
Then I get to share that knowledge with you.
I guess that’s the take away from this post … Read The Book !!!
When you get to the end of the first 164 pages you get to read this. Which is why we read the book, say our prayers and share with others in the rooms because we can tell you this …
Our book is meant to be suggestive only. We realize we know only a little. God will constantly disclose more to you and to us. Ask Him in your morning meditation what you can do each day for the man who is still sick. The answers will come, if your own house is in order. But obviously you cannot transmit something you haven’t got. See to it that your relationship with Him is right, and great events will come to pass for you and countless others. This is the Great Fact for us.
Abandon yourself to God as you understand God. Admit your faults to Him and to your fellows. Clear away the wreckage of your past. Give freely of what you find and join us. We shall be with you in the Fellowship of the Spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the Road of Happy Destiny.
May God bless you and keep you—until then.