Birthday Night


“Life will take on 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 you will not want to miss it.  Frequent contact with newcomers and with each other is the bright spot of our lives.” Big Book – page 89

I had no idea what this meant 9 years ago when I really tried to get sober for the first time! I didn’t get the “giving of yourself” part of the program. I couldn’t understand why these people, that I barely knew me, wanted to bring me in their circle. I kept thinking, “they must want something from me” or “if they really knew me, there is no way they would let me hang around much less include me in this group”. I’ve said this before, I was just so angry. I hated me and kinda hated them for not seeing how they should hate me too.

My sponsors have always spent tons of time with me. I just knew I was getting on their nerves. Hell, I was getting on my own nerves! But these people kept answering my phone calls, taking time out of their lives to sit down with me and the Big Book, and inviting me to “get in the truck”. I didn’t know that I had the option to say “No”. I thought they would kick me out if they did. I didn’t understand that by spending time with sick-ass me was helping them, too. They would tell me, “thank you”, and I was so confused! I would say, “Why are you thanking me? What did I do?” It was totally lost on me why they would do any of this for me.

Well, I can tell you I fully understand it now! About a year ago, God must have known how very very sick I was! He sent me 3 sponsees in a very short time frame. At the end of last year, when they were all on their 4th step at the same time, I was shocked! It had been a long time since I had gotten a sponsee past Bill’s Story, much less all 3 to start clearing the bogged down channel between them and their Higher Power!

Last Saturday, I had the honor and privilege of giving all 3 of these women their 1 year chips at Birthday Night! Before Birthday Night (BN), I felt weird having to do this 3 times, like a braggart or something. I hate speaking anyway, don’t like that type of attention. But I spent some time in the afternoon in meditation and prayer about BN and when the time came I was ready. None of these ladies getting a year sober was my accomplishment, responsibility or my fault. HAHA God used me for His purpose in these womens’ lives and with their willingness and surrender to the process on a daily basis.

“You are going to meet these new friends in your own community.  Near you, alcoholics are dying helplessly like people in a sinking ship.  If you live in a large place, there are hundreds.  High and low, rich and poor, these are future fellows of Alcoholics Anonymous.  Among them you will make lifelong friends.  You will be bound to them with new and wonderful ties, for you will escape disaster together and you will commence shoulder to shoulder your common journey.  Then you will know what it means to give of yourself that others may survive and rediscover life.  You will learn the full meaning of “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”Big Book page 152-153

I am bound to these women with new and wonderful ties! BN was freaking awesome! I have fully experienced this paragraph in the book in my life and I am forever grateful!

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Aside

Not NOW! Not TODAY!


Wish I could say that I have been a beaming angelic child of God lately but that would be entirely untrue. Life is just life! I am at least grateful that I know that no one is doing this or that to me. You know you have heard the sayings… Life on Life’s terms or Life on God’s terms or Life on my terms. I don’t know which is true or which reality I am actually living. That’s probably because my belief is that it is simply or complicatedly JUST LIFE.

My husband and I have said for years…..”When life slows down in a few months” or “When we have a weekend off from commitments”. You’d think we would have figured out by now, that is simply not gonna happen! There will always be something that comes up to plan into the mixing bowl which is our life. Even with all these gadgets and do-ma-hickies that make everything faster, none of them shorten my day. They do however allow me space to cram more stuff into the already over filled day. So, you start with this super crammed life that I have either created or participated in creating and then you throw in some anomaly like back taxes due to the IRS because I screwed up 3 years ago, my husband having the flu and me having a raging migraine simultaneously for 5 days, or our car was in the shop and then the car we borrowed breaks down while my husband is on the way to work. I could go on, but I’m not special! This kind of stuff happens to everyone.

“We are sure God wants us to be happy, joyous, and free. We cannot subscribe to the belief that this life is a vale of tears, though it once was just that for many of us. But it is clear that we made our own misery. God didn’t do it. Avoid then, the deliberate manufacture of misery, but if trouble comes, cheerfully capitalize it as an opportunity to demonstrate His omnipotence” Big Book page 133

WHAT AN ORDER!!!! Truth is, this is not always the easiest thing to do. When trouble comes my first reaction is not to go skipping through the tulips with full trust and dependence on God. My first reactions is to FLIP SMOOTH OUT! No spiritual giant here, for sure! I usually calm down pretty quick because I get this uneasy feeling in my stomach that this is not how to act, treat other people or react in any given situation. My sponsor says, “at any given time I am either moving toward a drink or moving toward God”. I have this sneaky suspicion that letting my head spin like I am having an exorcism is in no way moving toward God! So what I usually have to do is regroup which most of the time comes down to me talking to God with skin on.

“When we developed still more, we discovered the best possible source of emotional stability to be God Himself. We found that dependence upon His perfect justice, forgiveness, and love was healthy, and that it would work where nothing else would. If we really depended upon God, we couldn’t very well play God to our fellows nor would we feel the urge wholly to rely on human protection and care. These were the new attitudes that finally brought many of us an inner strength and peace that could not be deeply shaken by the shortcomings of others or by any calamity not of our own making.” 12 & 12 page 116

The coolest thing about this program, to me, is that we GET to practice it. Practice the principles. Practice turning our will over to His. Practice forgiveness. Practice reliance upon God. Practice! Practice! Practice! I think about all the years I spent playing basketball and the countless hours of practice I put in. I made tons of mistakes, air-balls, turnovers, bad passes etc. As long as I dusted myself off and tried again, I still improved and over time I made fewer mistakes. To practice is the repeated exercise in or performance of an activity or skill so as to acquire or maintain proficiency in it. So essentially I am trying to become proficient in a spiritual way of life.

No matter what my poorly planned, insane, inappropriate reaction to calamity, another persons behavior, or just simply &h!t Happens……… God can and WILL meet me right where I am! What an AWESOME gift that is! I don”t have to come to Him perfect! I just have to seek Him, not find……just continue to seek! And that folks is simply FANTABULOUS!

Aside

Two Alternatives


Hump DAY! I love that Camel Commercial but even more so, I love the one with Dirk Nowitzki “Game Day!” I’m always grateful on Wednesdays for several reasons…1. Some meetings I attend 2. Only 2 more days left in the work week 3. Get to spend time with “my girls” 4. I get to be reminded how powerful God really is 5. It is in my face how small my bullshit problems really are! I really need this reminder because I can really build up the size of my “issues”! My mother calls this making mountains out of molehills and I am a master at that.

So I was rocking along at The Faith and at a whopping 42 days sober, them crazy people made me a house manager. They were nuts in the decision but at the time I was so puffed up with pride there was no way I was gonna turn it down. The Faith housed about 30 men and 15 men at capacity and there were 2 women house managers and 4 men house managers. Lucky me! I was somewhat made for the job in that I don’t take much bullshit from anyone. While drinking I took sport in picking fights with men, preferably twice my size. My mouth has a tendency to get me into LOTS of trouble! I digress…

There was a girl, we’ll call her Winter, that was planning to go out on her first pass for the weekend and she wasn’t too sure about it all. She had been in quite a bit of trouble with the courts and was doing bi-weekly visits with the judge and was not sure she was strong enough to go on pass. I gave her my number, told her we would come get her if she got shaky and of course, that she didn’t even have to go if she felt that it wasn’t a good idea. You know she went despite her better judgment! She didn’t return for curfew Sunday night and came back sometime Tuesday to get her stuff. I hugged her and told her she knew where to find us and that she could call at any time. That was the last I heard of Winter. We had been sober about the same amount of time.

Fast forward 8 months….. I finally was going to court for my “full house”. My lawyer and I were discussing some thangs before I went to meet the judge on what ended up to be a slap on the wrist. My original probation was just extended and never revoked. I received 2 years probation and they dropped all my drug charges! I was amazed! Winter’s name came up while my lawyer and I were talking. This look of pain and concern came over him. He asked if I had heard what happened with her. I told him of the last time I saw her when she left The Faith. He told me they had found her body two days ago stuffed in a duffel bag at the dump. They thought she had OD’d and she was 5 months pregnant. I cry even typing this. Sorrow and Gratitude!

The Big Book states on page 25……. We were in a position where life was becoming impossible, and if we had passed into the region from which there is no return through human aid, we had but two alternatives: One was to go on to the bitter end, blotting out the consciousness of our intolerable situation as best we could; and the other, to accept spiritual help.

I know when Winter left that day she did not believe that a duffel bag would be her bitter end. The only way I know how to honor her memory is to share her story. I will never forget the look in her eyes that Tuesday morning when she picked up her belongings and drove away! It haunts me to some extent. But in other ways it makes me SO very grateful I have continued to choose spiritual help!

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