Sunday, January 31, 2010

Having Grown up in Youngstown, Ohio

It's a strange thing to know that the places of your youth now lie in ruins. When others casually express their belief in the permanence of things, I wish I had time to just kind of share with them my experience with permanence - it is fleeting.

I grew up in a steel town in eastern Ohio. The steel mills were a fixture, most families were composed of generations that had worked there. People complained about the steel companies and the smoke billowing into the sky. My father always said that when there was smoke coming out of the mills, it meant that families were eating. He was a product of the depression. I came to believe that the production of steel was a good thing and that men working and providing for their families was a good thing. Did I ever wonder if those days would end in my lifetime? Nope. But they did.

I am working at a hospital that is now in the process of down-sizing that has become so down-sized that it is down-right scary. I have watched with a broken heart as colleagues, staff who are "fixtures," have left. I have watched with a broken heart as units have closed and whole populations of patients have been left without a place to go. I have been absolutely amazed to see whole buildings left vacant and lifeless. Did I ever think this would happen in my lifetime? Nope. But it did.

So, (I bet most of you know where I am going with this...) when people casually say that AA will just magically survive into the future without any care or concern about its health or integrity I am incredulous. There is nothing in this world that is permanent. I sure would like to see the beautiful life saving program that is Alcoholics Anonymous survive to save future generations of alcoholics. But I fear that will not happen if we, the current membership, do not take some care to protect it. God has given us a great treasure and I think he expects us to care for it, not neglect and abuse it.

9 comments:

Syd said...

I too hope that AA and Al-Anon survive. Both are independent yet so connected in many ways. I wonder whether many things as we know them today will survive.

Ed G. said...

Agreed - it's our turn to take care of it for the future. Thank you for saying it.

Blessings and aloha...

ollyollyincomefree said...

That's a very valid concern. I think Bill foresaw this setting up the GSO in an attempt to preserve the organization. My sponsor also emphasizes that the 12 concepts are set up so we can adapt the organization over time to new challenges. Right now for example, the Grapevine is facing huge financial challenges and may need to change.

Pam said...

I'm hoping the International Convention this year will re-new everyone.
How can people not be re-newed when staying in the same town as the Alamo????

Lou said...

Traditions are being challenged everywhere. Certainly the people with a passion will have to make themselves heard.

Kim A. said...

I feel the same way about Alanon. Keeping it simple, sharing what was shared with me, passing on what I have learned. Being there. Complacency, for me, means insanity eventually. That is why I keep on keeping on.

namaste

Scott W said...

It must be truly disheartening to see jobs disappear all around.

I hope Monday brings you some smiles.

Scott said...

I do my part and share the traditions, live the traditions. I've been experiencing some local ridiculous AA behaviour of late and all I can do is set a good "tradition-based" example in hopes of inspiring others to do the same.

dAAve said...

Whoever thought GM would go bankrupt?
Things change. I hope AA stays around too, but we do what we can. Talking/writing about it may be all we can do. But it begins with awareness.
Thanks.