1st Month – 1st Step – Thoughts and Reflections…
On the ground is where we ended up, and the only way is UP !!!
It was a sunny day today. Which made it quite mild during the afternoon. The evening was mild just as well. However there is rain in the forecast for this week, which should put a dent in the remaining snow on the ground.
I set off an hour later than usual for a 5 p.m. arrival. I did my safari on the way out and stopped off at the mall on the way through the tunnel. How things change in a matter of days, they have gutted all the shops that were on the Metro level of the mall and put up “work walls” in place of individual bays. They are working fast to get the now store up and open. But I don’t know of an ETA on the grand opening as of yet.
I cranked out set up and was done by 5:30. Our girls came in droves today. And by the 7 o’clock hour of the meeting we had sat more people tonight than we have sat since the format change some time ago. We reached 53 folks. There are six stacks of chairs in our store room which were all used, so we had to take a seventh stack out of storage to fit everybody in the room.
These are the days when meetings are really important because of the influx of newbies we saw tonight that all celebrated their first sober holidays in their lives. Numbers are up and that is a good sign. Hopefully we will be able to retain these people and help them stay sober in the long run, one day at a time.
My sponsor was in the chair tonight. And we read from the twelve and twelve and Step one, since we are in the first month of the year, and plenty of our folks who have just come in, he thought it appropriate to begin at the beginning.
Step One is the only step you must get 100% …
WE admitted we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable.
There was a pop quiz after the reading. And the questions were:
1. What is the difference between a High Bottom and a Low Bottom Drunk???
Both are in a hole, but the high bottom faces up and the low bottom faces the ground.
2. What is the second part to Step one ???
That we are powerless over people, places and things.
From the reading I was drawn to a paragraph at the end of the chapter that I had underlined, and circled in red pen … So It must have been important the first time I went through this book:
WHO wishes to be Rigorously Honest and Tolerant? WHO wants to confess his faults to another and make restitution for harm done? WHO cares anything about a Higher Power, let alone meditation and prayer? WHO wants to sacrifice time and energy in trying to carry A.A.’s message to the next sufferer? NO, the average alcoholic, self centered in the extreme, doesn’t care for this prospect – unless he has to do these things in order to stay alive himself.
In the beginning when the first edition of the Big Book was published, the writing was written to the myriads of Low Bottom Drunks that were coming to the rooms. But in the last seventy or so years, the bottom has been raised and people of all different ilks have come to the rooms and gotten sober.
One of my friends shared that he is glad that the bottom was raised, still being an alcoholic, he found acceptance in the rooms. And secondly that every man and woman who comes in has the ability to choose how they qualify. We are not labeled – we come on our own steam to find a place that we can all come and recover.
The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking.
It has been a long time since my last drink. And having had two kicks at the sober can has given me perspective. In the year prior to my first attempt at sobriety, I had a good job, a small apartment and good friends. My life wasn’t really unmanageable, until they told me that I was going to die from AIDS.
It was then that things got dicey. And I attempted to kill myself with the drink.
Had that intervention that took place, not happened, I surely would have died.
My family of choice stepped in, got me to a meeting and began to help me build the life that I came to inhabit. And I will be forever grateful for what those men did for me.
But I have spoken about this in the recent past. At or around my 4th year of sobriety, I was going to meetings, but I wasn’t “Going to meetings.” My support team had moved away, I was alone, I was disconnected, and I made a stupid decision, and I went out.
Years would pass and my life was truly unmanageable. I had become a shell of a person, just going with the motions. I had not only drank, but I was drugging as well, and that only drove my slip into the deep dark hole I had stupidly stepped into. And could not find the way out, in the end the way out was chosen for me.
Tonight I shared that if your life isn’t unmanageable – go back out and drink again. Because they say that if you go back out, you pick up where you left off and it only gets worse. And I can tell you now, that it did truly get worse.
The final year of my drinking, 2001 was a year of calamity and change. We all know where we were in the year 2001. And what happened. I had a stipend job. I had a small studio apartment. I was alone. I had one friend. Literally !!!
If I had dropped off the face of the earth during that time, no one would have missed me or noticed that I was gone. I have no family to speak of – I had two strikes against me, One, I was Gay, and two, I was HIV +…
I said my prayers. I met another member, who brought me to my first, next meeting. It was there that I met the next “Family of Choice” who would help me begin again. My life was not unmanageable because I was binging one night a week. I had to be functional for the balance of a week in days.
I had not lost all that could have been lost. And I wasn’t as insane as I hear people are at our meeting. Yet I was insane, because it took so long on the binge to come to realize that I could not go on doing what I was doing to my body and expect to survive with one disease already under my belt.
Alcoholism is the only disease that tells us that we don’t have a disease…
Lots of young people at our meeting are suffering. Many of them are fresh with mere weeks and some with mere days. Many are just beginning to dig themselves out of that dark and lonely hole of insanity that had them in its grip.
All we can do for them is to be there, to be Present. Offer them a kind word, a handshake and love. Hopefully our bumper crop of newbies will stick with it and stay until the miracle happens for them as they have for countless others who have passed through our room.
We have our work cut out for ourselves.
It was a good night overall. Folks were happy. We had a very successful evening with good discussion. With over 50 people in the room, we did not get all the way around the room.
Some would say that had we gone on – the meeting would have gone on for another half hour, at least. Some people get itchy when we reach an hour fifteen.
(That’s how long our meeting is naturally!)
Some people cannot sit through a long meeting, and they end up complaining at a business meeting, then they stop coming all together. And my sponsor is apt to say to jumpy people “how many hours did you spend sitting on that bar stool drinking?” that you can’t sit through a meeting that might go long ???
A good night was had by all.
More to come, stay tuned …