Endigar 324

I have not started sponsoring anyone, probably to the relief of Lydia [http://lydiacharlotte.wordpress.com/].  She advised against it, based on what she saw here in my writing, I suppose.  It has not been the result of a decision on my part though.  I just forgot that I had decided to take on that responsibility.  I have difficulty keeping things simple.  Simplicity bores me.  I love twists and turns and the mad employment of imagination.  Unfortunately, such a labyrinth makes it difficult to complete important projects and necessary tasks.  I overwhelm myself.

I was talking to my female about this latest quagmire, and why I often end up in the swamp, when she simply says, “I think your disease makes you go there.  How long has it been since you have been to a meeting?”  Internally, I slap my forehead.  Oh yeah, I’m an alcoholic!  How can I forget that?

The next day, I get a message from my sponsor, just wanting to touch base with me, saying that he has not heard from me in a while.  How was college and how am I doing.  If this is not the grace of Gomu (God of my understanding) doing for me what I cannot (or will not) do for myself, I do not know what is.

So last night, I went to a meeting in downtown Birmingham, and met my sponsor there.  The topic was from Chapter 7 of the Big Book, Helping Others, the first couple of paragraphs.

“Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics.  It works when other activities fail.  This is our twelfth suggestion:  Carry this message to other alcoholics!  You can help when no one else can.  You can secure their confidence when others fail.  Remember they are very ill.  Life will take on a new meaning.  To watch people recover, to see them help others, to watch loneliness vanish, to see a fellowship grow up about you, to have a host of friends – this is an experience you must not miss.  We know that you will not want to miss it.  Frequent contact with newcomers and with each other is the bright spot of our lives.”

The topic leader then went on to describe an experience of being of help to another.  Here are some of the other points I heard as the topic was opened for discussion:

1.  The 12th step teaches us to face life proactively, not just react.  It teaches us to secure insurance against those waves of alcoholic insanity that will assault in the future.

2.  Remember that 12th step work is not relegated to sponsorship.  Being present at meetings, sharing the AA message, serving the group, and willingness to be friendly, to listen and talk to newcomers, are all apart of the spirit of 12th step work.

3.  This program offers help outside of religion.  Some people benefit from church and religion, but many of us do not.  A lot of us have tried to make that work, and have despaired.  This program does work where religion cannot.

4.  This program has helped many establish a place of human connections.  As time goes on, you become apart of a secondary family.  In fact, many find most of their true friends in this program.

5.  Building up an intimacy with the fellowship provides additional resource for maintaining sobriety.

6.  It is important to remember not to seek to prosletize AA, but to rely on attraction rather than promotion.  In this way, we rely on Gomu, and do not take on the futile role of being someone else’s God.

7.  Co-dependency is a dangerous part of the 12th step, particularly if you are attempting to help family members recover.  (I think this is why Gomu has not had me sponsoring – I have issues in this area)

8.  My sponsor talked about his decades of service as a salesman that he retired from and one of the situations that the sales force was warned against was sitting on a china egg.  He explained that the china egg looks so good, and you just keep trying to hatch it.  Do not waste your time with prospects that are simply not ready.  It denies others who ready to go to any length for sobriety of your attention.  Know when to move on.

My own religious resistance caused me to have difficulty hearing the following points, because it sounded more like a churchian hijack of the program to me.  I could be wrong, so I will put them here anyway:

9.  We need to only be speaking AA’s message, and not our own.  Remember that you are the only Big Book some people will read.  (This felt felt like a religious straight jacket to me, a way of thinking that causes religious people to maintain a facade, to hide their struggles, to miss the “more to be revealed” aspect of the program).

10.  Knowing that my life is being directed by Gomu’s will helps me to accept the difficult and hard to understand elements of life.

I have acceptance issues…there is no doubt about it.  During active alcoholism, we used the cold slap of consequences to buy us moments of sanity, that allowed us to confess that we might truly be alcoholic.  Why would we now accept negative occurrences as anything but red flags?  Maybe there is something else that needs to change in either our circumstance, or more likely, in our perspective.  It just sounded to me like a surrender to eating sour grapes in sobriety because “God is in control.”  I am also not sure what relevance this had to the 12th step, since she was talking about her job interview and subsequent prospects.  Maybe it was the “living out these principles in all our affairs” part.

Anyway.  I am still sober, and for that I am grateful.  Even if I am a Swamp Thing.


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