Just got home from the Sunday Morning meeting of my home group. My friend Merle celebrated 28 years of sobriety. It was a wonderful meeting for me. It is so reassuring to see my old friends. Guys in their 50s who I have known since they were in their late 20s. Makes it feel like I have known them a lot longer than 22 years, but 22 years is a chunk of someone's life. Beyond the gray hair and wrinkles are many lifetimes of experience of people who just keep coming back, doing the next right thing, and no matter what - we don't pick up a drink in between meetings.
This morning before I left for the meeting, I tucked my old engagement ring into the front pocket of my jeans. It is the engagement ring I got when I was 23 and about to marry the father of my children. I loved that ring, but lost the diamond out of it - oh, about 26 years ago. I intended to replace the diamond, but never did. After we were divorced, I intended to get a colored stone in the place of the diamond, but never did. I have been talking to my friend the Jeweller about this since he got sober in 1990. This morning, I actually handed him the ring and asked him what he thought would look nice in it. He thinks a sapphire would be wonderful and I asked him to do it. Sheepishly asking "how much?" He said he would give it to me because he hasn't done anything nice for anyone for a while. Holy cow! How cool is that! I will pick it up on Thursday night after work.
We all went out for breakfast afterwards. I refrained from indulging in my usual - fried bologna, eggs, and green chile. I am sure anyone can imagine why a person would chose not to eat this - it has something to do with gastric distress.
Do I have a point today? Yes, I do. My friend John was talking about when he celebrated 90 days and Merle had told him that he "envied his journey". John could not believe that this guy with 20+ years of sobriety could ENVY someone living at the Salvation Army with only the clothes on his back, etc. But he said today that he understands. How every step of the journey is beautiful and memorable and wonderful. And such a huge part of the beauty is the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. I know we are pains in the ass much of the time, but we have the most incredible quality of fellowship.
"For, to these people, I am truly related. First, through mutual pain and despair, and later through mutual objectives and new-found faith and hope. And, as the years go by, working together, sharing our experiences with one another, and also sharing a mutual trust, understanding and love-without strings, without obligation-we acquire relationships that are unique and priceless." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 312"