This Is Life – Grapevine Article by Shannon C.

Facing life on life’s terms, she asks not what AA can do for her—but what she can do for AA

It’d been a couple of weeks since I’d received some overwhelming bad news. Actually, these past couple of years have consisted of one devastating blow after another. Just when I thought I was on the other side of one heartbreak, another would hit. I had to admit, though, the latest one threw me over the top. I went through all kinds of emotions for the next few days, from desolation to disbelief and denial, grief, guilt, fear and all the other nasty feelings that can get an alcoholic like me into big trouble.

Then I became very angry with my Higher Power. I was more than angry. I was livid. I was ready to give it all up. I was ready to give up prayer, meditation, the 12 Steps, meetings, the Fellowship and service. I wanted to quit everything that was good in my life.

Instead, I called and met with my sponsor and then I went to a meeting. I wanted to talk about my venom and toxic attitude as a topic for the meeting. But when the chair asked for a topic, someone else beat me to it. Her topic was: “What has AA done for you?” Humph! She then started to describe all the wonderful things that she now has in her life since she’s been sober. Eventually, the meeting turned into a gratitude meeting and slowly my anger and fear started to become right sized and acceptance and surrender began to set in. 

This is life. Life happens. Life can suck sometimes. I am not immune from the troubles and woes in life just because I got sober. The difference today is how I walk through these life dilemmas. 

So, I began to assess my thoughts of what AA has done for me, beyond sobriety, during the most difficult of days. 

I realized that it has taught me how to have a relationship with a kind, loving and tolerant Higher Power on a level that I would call a friendship. And like some friendships, it can be tumultuous at times. But I also know I can’t live without it, and that my Higher Power will be here for me and will carry me through. I use to live without faith and it took me to a very dark place. I know I don’t want to go back to that emptiness and despair. 

I use to run from my feelings because I couldn’t stand how painful they were. Today, I can be, for the most part, comfortable in my uncomfortableness. I am realizing just how empowering acceptance and surrender can be. I am open to the mystery of how it can all turn out better than I could have ever imagined it could be.

I can live in the now. I don’t have to have the guilt or regret of yesterday or the fear of what the future holds. Even though I still travel to both yesterday and tomorrow, I can always bring myself back to the now. By doing that, I get some sense of serenity even when calamity surrounds me. 

You all have taught me how to walk through (not around) these obstacles one step at a time, one day at a time, without hurting myself or anyone else in the process. And then you all have taught me how to turn these difficulties into something that I can use to help another alcoholic and my loved ones. That is such a gift! To be able to help someone else through the same thing that I am going through or have gone through.

The question was: “What has AA done for you?” With all that it has given me, I should be asking: “What can I do for AA?” I’m sure that I will never feel like I can pay back what has been given to me, but I’ll keep trying. I love you and I love Alcoholics Anonymous. Thank you for keeping me sober (and sane) today.

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