While a cruise ship travel agent’s business is in rough waters, a world of AA service keeps her afloat
They said, “Don’t rest on your laurels,” because the enemy never sleeps. I don’t believe I have seen any laurels around recently, but I could have been lulled into thinking I deserve some since I have 45 years of continuous sobriety.
As is the custom when asked to speak at an AA meeting, I usually give my sobriety date. I always give the least amount of time first because I believe that’s the only thing that matters—what I’ve I done lately.
I spoke at a virtual meeting last week and said I have three months and 45 years of sobriety. I am a real alcoholic and my solution to everything was always a drink, which led to a drunk, which led to incomprehensible demoralization. My solution to all of life was in a glass.
I was on a ship in Norway when the pandemic hit, and the Norwegians closed the country as we left port. Then my plane ticket on the last flight to get home via London was cancelled when I got to the airport. Not long after, my brother-in-law died in New York of the virus and no funeral was possible due to potential transmission. Oh, and my family dry cleaning store burned down; my new grandson was born and I couldn’t go see him in the hospital due to quarantine; and my successful cruise ship travel agency of 20 years has been literally stopped in the water.
As I sip my coffee, I wonder why all this chaos and hardship hasn’t bothered me. OK, I was a bit shocked for a few minutes when the airline ticket sales agent told me I would need to pay $10,000 for a ticket home. But the fact remains that I did not pick up a drink over any of it. In fact, the thought of a drink hasn’t even entered my mind through all this. This is not normal. The balance of what I put into AA and what I get out is beyond extraordinary.
I am fortified daily with the Steps against any situation, so far, that life brings. I can witness reality differently than through booze-filled eyes and embrace the opportunities to pause and pray. I have completely and entirely given myself to this simple program.
Then a question came to mind. What have I done for the health and well-being of AA in the past 90 days? I scribbled a list and saw how my activity not only fortified me and gave me the kind of life that keeps me safe under all circumstances, but it also has helped AA survive during this strange time. It’s easy to support AA because providing that support is what I’ve been doing all along, in my own small way. Gratitude constantly spills out of my eyes.
What have I done? I sometimes attend two meetings a day on my computer. I have a weekly virtual AA meeting for all the women I sponsor and the women they sponsor. In those meetings, we study the Steps, the Traditions and the Concepts. I attend my sponsor’s meeting and I attend my home group and I participate in the business meetings where we have still decided not to go back to the in-person room. I contribute in keeping with the Seventh Tradition. I even send in stories to Grapevine and encourage everyone else to do so.
Oh, and I have a new “virtual” sponsee who I’ve never met in person. I also sponsor a gal in Budapest and she sponsors a gal in China who has 90 days of sobriety and who attends our online meetings from her hometown in China, close to the Russian border. I spoke with her as the Russian interpreter.
So yes, I’ve been busy supporting AA. While we celebrate 85 years of AA, in China AA has only been available for seven years. No one there has ever even seen anyone with more than 10 years of sobriety.
I’ve attended meetings in China, Iran, Israel and Hungary, among other countries. We are fortunate now to be able to carry the message of the Twelve Steps, and to provide so many with a map out of the hell of active alcoholism much further around the world. What an opportunity to be of service. This you must not miss!
As I see it, this pandemic has given us endless possibilities to be of service. I got up at 5:30 a.m. today to speak at a meeting. Was it inconvenient? I couldn’t live enough lifetimes to pay back my debt to AA.
I hope I never find any laurels to rest on. By resting, I would have missed seeing this new way the miracle is happening. God will meet us anywhere, even through a computer screen.