Just writing that calls to mind all the sages over the years who have emphasized one word or another in this step. Many of them. Having HAD. as THE result. we TRIED. carry this MESSAGE. to ALCOHOLICS. to PRACTICE. in ALL our affairs. And of course, there are those who have said that this steps says we should have AFFAIRS. (ha ha. )
I'll take the step just as written, thank you very much.
Yes, thank you very much Alcoholics Anonymous. For the fellowship. For the program. For the spiritual awakening I had. For the gifts of practicing this program. For the life that I have been given. For the ability to carry the message to the still suffering alcoholic. For the ability to actually sponsor other women. For the women who have been willing to sponsor me over the years.
What's the best way to say "Thank you?" To go forward and pass it on to others. We don't spend a lot of time looking back, we look forward. What a joy it is to be able to sit with another woman and crack open the big book and to watch the light come on in her eyes.
I could tell you countless stories of the "old days" when we actually used to make 12th step calls. We would pile into a car and drive across town because someone had called and asked for help. Most of the time it was a wild goose chase, but we stayed sober and that is the true gauge of a successful 12th step call. I haven't gone on a 12th step call for years. Maybe the newer people are doing it, that is OK, they are the people who should be doing it.
I could tell you about all the women I have sponsored over the years, but I think it sounds arrogant. So I will skip it. Let me pick one little odd story that really showed me something about being a member of Alcoholics Anonymous and living large - and at large.
I was sober 12 or 13 years. I was going to meetings regularly and feeling pretty settled in my sobriety. On one Saturday afternoon, I went to the grocery store. When I came out of the store, there was another car parked so close to mine that I could not get in my car. I thought of climbing over the passenger seat and getting in that way, but then there still would be the problem of backing out without hitting the car about an inch from mine. I was really angry. I wanted to leave a really bad note on the car.
Instead I wrote down the license number and walked back into the store. I had the service desk page the person with the car. I was standing, tapping my toes, arms crossed, waiting for the jackass who parked like that. Well, along comes a handsome man about my age. He says that is his car. We walk out to the parking lot. He is so apologetic when he sees how close he has parked to my car. And then he says "You're a friend of Bill W., aren't you?" I just felt deflated by that. And then he continued... "You're name is Mary, isn't it? - and you knit in meetings... right?" Yep. He had me. He probably heard me tell a room full of alcoholics what a spiritual giant I am... (actually I hope not) and he knew me. I didn't know him - if you go to enough meetings for enough years, there will be people all over the place who have seen you at a meeting and if you are like me, you probably didn't notice them. We had a lovely conversation, he moved his car and apologized profusely. We hugged.
And I left there thinking about the grace of God. The grace of God kept me from scrawling a nasty note full of obscenities and leaving it on his car. The grace of God kept me from swearing at him when I saw him at the store. The grace of God kept me from being a total jackass - which is what I wanted to be.
I thought about the fact that I never know when I am being an ambassador of AA. I don't know who has seen me in a meeting over these 24 + years. I have been in a lot of them. I tend to be noticeable. People tend to remember me. I need to behave myself.
I never know when I am a walking example of this program in action. In the grocery store. At the Post Office. In the workplace. In my neighborhood. Everywhere I go. I need to be an attraction, not a hideous warning.
Thank you for reading this for the last 12 days. I have not really enjoyed doing this. I thought it would be a nice switch from writing about my daily life and my little quirky stuff. I didn't realize how much I enjoy writing all that stuff, and how much I would miss it. I will be back in all my glory tomorrow... to talk about my running, my knitting, oh! and the Christmas lights I put on my front porch last night. My granddaughter's birthday. Cooking stuff. An approaching trip to some lovely town in Texas to see some lovely friends!!! Etc., Etc.... all as the result of these Twelve Steps.
Thank You God.