I went to a meeting this morning and met an old friend for coffee. I have known her since day 1 in AA. Such a treasure to be able to have a friendship with someone who has known me since I was 32 years old, newly sober, crazy, and overwhelmed with three little kids.
Life has changed so much since then. But I feel like maybe I need to say that life didn't change by magic, or just by merit of not drinking. I really did have to do some things. The big book is pretty specific about the stuff that is necessary to do to stay sober. I have to live on a spiritual basis, and that means I behave in certain ways. I don't go around hating people for instance.
That doesn't mean that the people in my life are nicer or weller than the people in your life. It means that I have had to learn how to love them anyway. When I got sober, I had relationships with people in my family that were so deeply damaged - for instance, I hadn't spoken to one very important person for nearly 10 years. If you are to remain sober, you really can't behave like that. I prayed about it, I wrote about it, I became willing to do whatever I could to make it right and that relationship today is now one of the most important ones in my life. It wasn't easy, but it wasn't that damn hard either. She is still who she was. She still is angry about some stuff from my ancient history. She still acts certain ways towards me. I still can't spend months at a time with her. But I love her and she loves me. Thank God I didn't feel the need to hold onto that bitterness and hatred. I don't believe I could have survived it.
The friend I had coffee with this morning? A few years ago, I felt that she betrayed me so badly that I could never be her friend again. But I had to meditate on what it means to forgive, and thank God for that. I would have lost a dear friend. We all make mistakes - me included. I have made amends to her, she has made amends to me. End of story. Except that we get to be friends and love each other.
If you are seriously alcoholic, there will need to be massive changes in your life in order to stay sober. It takes a lot more than "keep coming back!!!!" it takes a change in nearly every single thing you do.
So, on this Sunday afternoon, I am cooking for a family dinner. My son, his wife, and daughter are coming over. They are bringing a friend - someone I have known since he was in high school with my son. We'll have lots of wonderful food and we'll laugh and enjoy each other's company.
These things may be gifts from God - I am always quick to point that out - but maybe I need to add that they are gifts that came with some strings attached.
The care and feeding of a spiritual life - life without resentment and hatred. The rewards of that so far outweigh the twisted pleasure we derive from perpetuating our ill feelings towards another.
Ok, enough of a lecture out of me.
Have a nice rest of your weekend.