Happy New Year everyone. I hope your’s has been a sober one so far. Here’s a few stories from the AA Grapevine magazine. You can purchase some copies at Uptown House or subscribe. This is AA’s official publication, reprinted with permission:
The power in the rooms that helped her stop drinking also expanded her faith
by Amy C., Cleveland, Ohio
My family went to a Protestant church when I was growing up, but we were not religious. I think my mother wanted to give us some values to stand on. My father was agnostic, yet I always believed in God.
In my teens, I tried Christianity, but it didn’t fit me. Later in my 20s, I had a spiritual hunger that led me to a Unitarian church that did not espouse a creed or dogma, but instead encouraged a personal search for truth and meaning. I still go there.
In AA, I’ve gone through stages of defining my Higher Power. I resonate with Native American spirituality, believing in Mother Earth, Father Sky and the Great Spirit. I’ve participated in sweat lodge ceremonies that I’ve found to be extremely cleansing and healing. Once after I did the sweat lodge, I had a revelation of my truth, that all of nature and humanity are intertwined. It’s easy to forget that when I am acting from ego-based fear.
I like that AA encourages me to find a Higher Power of my understanding. My soulful journey in AA has expanded my faith in God. I have a conviction in the ‘we’ of the program. I know that alone I could not control my drinking. After a lot of self-inflicted pain, I realized I needed help with it. Even then, I was in and out of AA for years, getting some lengths of sobriety but always relapsing.
Eventually it took an overdose and a detox to wake me from my nightmare, and I ended up in a month-long treatment center. I had literally just gotten on Medicare, which I desperately needed to cover the cost. That was definitely what I’d call a ‘God thing.’ Next I went into a sober house for two years. I now believe it was God who got me there and God who got me through. People were praying for me. At the time, I was haunted by depression and anxiety and had to get outside help. It was a lengthy, slow process, but I continued to make strides.
Unfortunately, the sober house closed down, and all of a sudden I had nowhere to go. I panicked. Amazingly, right around that time I got a call from a HUD apartment complex where I had put in an application two years before! Another ‘God thing,’ or ‘cosmic coincidence.’ These events seem to flow together when I’m open to change.
I am now five years sober. I have an awesome sponsor and work the Steps continuously. I am the treasurer at my home goup and a secretary at another one. At my AA meetings I feel the connected energy of the ‘we’ in process.
Finding my Higher Power has been a long, circuitous path up mountains and down valleys. Even deeper than valleys, actually, under the Earth itself at times, while I kept digging my way to the bottom.
Today, I pray every morning and every night and ask all of me to be aligned with God’s will. I know sobriety has to be my top priority in life; without it I have nothing. And with God I have everything I need.
He made his plan to escape out of the back door: But two guys with a coffee pot were waiting
by Luke H.
Allendale, New Jersey
For me, desperation has a short shelf life. I had been so eager and desperate to do everything needed to get sober after my latest drinking spree, which was on a Saturday. But by Tuesday, things didn’t seem so bad. I was all ready to go out there again to repeat the desperate experiment of the first drink. That’s when a couple of ‘muppets’ came to my rescue.
The last four years of my drinking hell culminated in me getting my car impounded and walking from a police station to my brother’s house and going to sleep on his couch. During that walk, I knew with absolute certainty that I had to get back to AA. This time, I would take seriously the suggestions that had been offered to me so many times in the past.
After two days of staying in and wrapping myself in a blanket of self pity, I knew I had to get to a meeting. The Tuesday noon meeting at Hohokus would do the trick. But as it got closer to noon, something happened to me that I cannot explain. All of a sudden I thought that things were not really as bad as I made them out to be. This time would be different, I told myself.
I had my brother drop me off an hour before the start time to the AA meeting. I planned to head out the back door after he left. The $100 that my aunt had just gien me to help out was burning a hole in my pocket.
My brother dropped me off and I stepped inside the darkened meeting room. I was waiting for my brother to be out of sight and then my plan was to take off. That’s when I heard an odd sound in the otherewise quiet, empty AA room.
It was a mechanical ‘psst….psst’ sort of sound. I peeked into the room to investigate and discovered the sound to be a coffee urn starting to brew. Just as I turned to leave a raspy voice penetrated the room.
“Hey, who’s that? Are you new? Come here, kid. Where are you from?” the voice said. Just then the lights went on and I saw two men sitting in the balcony section in the back of the room. They looked like the two old guys from The Muppets television show who always sat up in the balcony. The old men asked me to come up. I felt I had no choice but to go over and sit with them.
I didn’t leave that day and I haven’t left AA since. That was 16 years ago. I can’t be sure what would have happened if I had gone out the back door that day. Maybe I would have made it back, maybe not. I often think about that when I see empty chairs in our meetings.
I like to think that those two ‘muppets’ saved my life. I don’t even remember their names now. They were just making coffee and doing service. I have a special place in my heart for AA service and what they did for me. Now I get to do the same.
Copyright © AA Grapevine, Inc. January 2019. Reprinted with permission. Permission to reprint AA Grapevine, Inc., copyrighted material in Uptown Club publications/website does not in any way imply affiliation with or endorsement by either Alcoholics Anonymous or AA Grapevine, Inc.