Thursday: It’s a New Story
Nothing guarantees one sobriety more, than intensive work with another alcoholic.
These words ring true tonight.
There is only ONE time, you get to tell your story for the very first time. Tonight, the room was packed. The crowd was fresh, many friends, and groups from other places, visiting for the month of January.
Tonight, we heard a story for the First Time.
2 years and 2 months ago, I met a young man, the same age I was, when I came in. My young man was at his First A.A. meeting in Montreal. He had visited a room in his native Venezuela many years prior. He knew the drill.
That night, as the meeting closed, I was feeling strong and confident. We spoke after the meeting, and I gave him my number and told him to call me EVERY DAY.
That first week, he called me ONCE.
The following Sunday he came to the meeting, and I asked him why he didn’t call, as he was asked. He did not want to bother me. That Sunday he resolved to call every day. For the last two years, and a couple of months, he has done as he was asked.
When you work with others, A Vision for you says that:
Obviously, you cannot transmit something you haven’t got …Your Own House Must be in Order.
I believed I had something to offer, a Story. Experience, Strength and Hope.
But you never know what you have to offer, until conversations begin. Every time that phone rings, you never know what is going to come from the other end. You cannot respond with “Canned Responses.” You must rise to the challenge of whatever is asked of you. Working with others forces you to really Work Your Program.
Going to meetings, is not just Going to meetings.
One must exhaust every meeting and every human being in that meeting to its maximum benefit. I’ve spent the last fifteen years listening to people talk, in every meeting I have been to, to date.
I pride myself in knowing that, ONE, I did not do many things I watched others do. And TWO, I did not make the same decisions many others made. I was never alone. Over the years, observing my friends and listening to them, gave me opportunity to say, “I might do this, or I might do that, but I am definitely NOT doing that.”
With all that informed activity, soberly used, I am where I am. I have an entire bank of knowledge and decision-making skills. And I have used them wisely.
Sobriety is not a rush job. And sometimes progress is slow. But for my friend tonight, the pace of progress was reflected back at us tonight, in the wise and spiritual truths my friend shared with us tonight. It pays, having a cheat sheet.
He had a cheat sheet.
But that cheat sheet helped him share a message of true spiritual teaching.
A long time ago, my friend knew what he had to do. What happened was, that it took time to do the work and learn the lessons, and gain spiritual maturity to know God as he does.
We might pray for things we think we need right now. And for the most part, alcoholics believe that if they pray NOW that the payment will come NOW.
If one is not spiritually RIGHT, and learned of the process of growth and has done the appropriate work to get to a certain point, what we need won’t come, until we really need it, on God’s time-table. Knowing full well, what that gift is and how to use it wisely. If we receive answers and promises prematurely, without doing the work required TO RECEIVE, then the gift is wasted.
God does not seem to waste gifts prematurely.
I know this, because, over the years, I worked very hard at sobriety. And nothing came easily, or on my time-table. In fact, some prayers took YEARS to come to me. I needed to appreciate my petitions, and learn to know my limits.
And how to respect God’s timetable.
I had certain issues I needed to practice. Like Money, Love, Things, Relationships, a Roof over my head, and Food in the Fridge.
My life blossomed in year two. BUT, God held back for a long time, until I learned how to do One thing well, not necessarily perfect. But one thing at a time.
In the meantime, my needs were met. I had all the right people, in all the right places, at all the right times.
Only in year 13 did things change drastically, Positively.
Knowing my friend came in at the same age I did, with practically the same issues I had, I kind of knew the drill. And I have been cautious with my advice, always tempering my words, with the appropriate work that is required of him and of myself.
And that caution paid off.
Because my friend is wise, at this stage of the game. He knows who he is. And he respects God and God’s Wisdom. True spiritual growth is the point of getting sober.
Sadly … Many folks don’t get it, won’t listen to advice, nor have the will to do the work required to be really, spiritually, fit.
I may be spiritual, but if I don’t maintain that spirituality daily, I am useless.
I must rise to the challenge and become as spiritual as I can, and whatever work we need to do to get there is what we will do. And we employ reading, studying, praying, meetings, listening, discussing, and then acting.
The Spirituality of Imperfection was a game changing book.
Rafa read it, and gave it to me. I read it and gave it to my friend. He read it and gave it to his girlfriend to read.
Along with the basic text of the Big Book, we have this small tome to study as well, as the book is all about Alcoholics Anonymous. From a Spiritual direction.
A handful of people, I know, read this book. I was among them in the Summer of 2016.
Spirituality is a time necessary endeavor. And all we have is time. And for each soul, in the program, all we do is count time. But it is in between those points on the timeline, that growth takes place. It does not come overnight.
It was an amazing night. I am so proud of my friend. The room was electrified tonight, and the people were truly grateful for the message shared.
He knocked it out of the Park.