Sunday Sundries … The Sunday Before Christmas
Courtesy: TTG Greenwich Village
We seemed to have skirted the worst of the storm. Conditions were not that bad, seeing the storm was just getting started last night over dinner. It was more blustery late last night, today, it seemed the storm had worn itself out. Toronto got the worst of it.
I was up early today, knowing that the heat needed to be on in the church and that I would probably have to shovel snow, I departed much earlier than usual, to make sure the job was done by the time folks started showing up for the meeting.
And even in this inclement weather, we turned out a good group for the meeting. All our workings to keep the meeting open paid off again tonight.
It is the last regular Sunday of the month, and we began reading from the Big Book, and the “Keys of the Kingdom.” About a pioneer woman of A.A. from the 1930’s.
To begin with, a light discussion of young people in their twenties these days and how they were getting along and the state of things with the world wide web at their beckoning … was had before the meeting.
We were reminiscing about growing up in our days, the 80’s and early 90’s and then we read the first part of this story, and it was in the writers twenties that life began to go downhill because of drinking.
“… Doctors were advised to attend patients who could be benefitted by medicine. With the alcoholic, they could only give temporary relief and in the last stages not even that. It was a waste of the doctors’ time and the patients’ money. Nevertheless, there were a few doctors who saw alcoholism as a disease and felt the alcoholic was a victim of something over which he had no control. They had a bunch that there must be an answer for these apparently hopeless ones, somewhere. Fortunately for me, my doctor was one of the enlightened.
And then in the spring of 1939, a very remarkable book was rolled off a New York press with the title Alcoholics Anonymous…
the writer goes on to say –
… I stayed up all night reading that book. For me it was a wonderful experience. It explained so much I had not understood about myself, and, best of all, it promised recovery if i would do a few simple things and be willing to have the desire to drink removed. Here was hope. Maybe I could find my way out of the agonizing existence. Perhaps I could find freedom and peace, and be able once again to call my soul my own.”
B.B. pgs. 271-273
The theme of the night seemed to be “twenties.” And I have to say that I survived my twenties, I don’t know HOW I survived them, bringing to mind how much I was drinking, and how many dead end relationships and jackpots I had gotten myself into.
I believe you call it “barely living, and just barely surviving.”
I ended that bad run in Fort Lauderdale. In my last dead end relationship, and soon to be death sentence life. Thank God I made ONE fateful decision in that time period to enter ONE particular bar. And happened onto the man would would become my savior.
From the moment we set eyes on each other, it was love. More like deep respect, because from first glance he knew more about me than I knew about myself. I set forth a plan of action to prove myself worthy to be counted among his friends, and soon to be employees.
I was a drunk, on the skids. I faced several soul ending situations that, in mortal men, would have killed them, and I was surely on my way had those men in that time not stepped in to get me some much needed help.
Indeed I got sick. And indeed I almost died. Had not Todd stepped into my life when he did, I surely would have died a miserable death, like the friends we watched die around us in the ensuing years.
I got sober, August 23rd, 1994. I did meetings, and I read the book, but for the life of me, I cannot remember what I did with the book. Because in hindsight, compared to this time around, the book was not prominent in my recovery, had it been, at the time I needed it, I probably would have remained sober, and not pulled that stunt that took me out.
My twenties was a blur of time, I can piece together bits and pieces of memories. The sober moments in between drinking events. I left home woefully prepared for the Big Wide World. And for almost two decades, I was just barely existing.
It wasn’t until I decided in my mid thirties that indeed it was time to put down the drink and accept that fact that I had to grow up. There was no two ways about it. I had squandered too many years trying to recapture the fountain of youth, all to my detriment.
I worry for some of the young people I follow today. Wrapped up in a box and not having time on the outside learning valuable lessons to get them on in life. Lessons I did not learn until it they were forced upon me by time and circumstance. There had to be something more for me to find.
Luckily, grace came upon me and the rest is history.
I was relieved of the desire to drink. When I put it down and walked away, it was the last time I would do so, cross my heart and hope to die. There were only two occasions in early sobriety that I felt like drinking, because I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. But I was successful.
By the grace of God and the fellowship of A.A. I haven’t had a drink in more than twelve years. I have a way of life that revolves around meetings, and serving others and the book.
That is all I know. It is life and existence.
I can’t change the past, nor do I wish to shut the door on it. Because for all the worst times in my twenties, there were, interspersed, moments of happiness and joy. There are specific moments I wished lasted longer, memories I wish I could write a more happy ending to, people I grew to love but faded from my life because of stupid decisions.
It was the best of times, and it was the worst of times.
I survived it all, not for my own strength. Something greater than myself had surely been on my side, seeing I am still here, and can live to tell you stories about those times. I lament that I should have realized it then, early on, alas, it was not the time yet. There was much more furnace to burn me, years would pass before I get to the point that I had been burned enough. But for a short while I attained respite.
But stupidity and ego took hold, and I consciously stepped back into the furnace for a few more years of fire. Time and hindsight remind me now that if I don’t heed the oracle of sobriety, I am destined to repeat stupidity and ignorance.
Thankfully we have the book to keep us mindful of what can happen if we let our minds take us back to self and ego. We are reminded of our powerlessness against the first drink, and that the only cure, on a daily basis, is the reprieve from alcohol we get, based on the condition of our spiritual condition.
Christmas is just around the corner, and we will all be here to welcome whomever needs a place to go.
More to come, stay tuned …