Being an Example
Being an Example, knowingly or not.
On January 9th, Tuesday, I celebrated 30 continuous years of sobriety. I see it as 10,957 days because for 23 years, I had to drink every day so every day without having to drink is a little miracle.
Wednesday night is my home group meeting and another woman there, J, celebrated 40 years of sobriety that day. I asked my sponsor to give both of us our medallions because of the wonderful symmetry I hope to make clear in a minute.
Over 35 years ago, when J had only been sober a couple of years, her young son was killed getting off the school bus. Though she could only cry and rock herself for comfort, she came to meetings. At every meeting, she sat and sobbed and rocked and listened and did it over again and again – because she did not want to drink. Her only certainty was that working the program of Alcoholics Anonymous would help her stay sober.
She didn’t know that there was a young woman who attended many of the same meetings, who was very new to AA and desperately looking for a way to live her life soberly without a clue to HOW to do that. That young woman watched J. make the choice to come to meetings rather than drink her sorrow away.
What struck that young woman was the idea that if this horrible event did not drive J out of the rooms and into the arms of booze, then how could she have any reservations about staying sober?
I came into the rooms when that young woman had about 5 1/2 years sober and I watched her at meetings. She had social anxiety and would practically vibrate from tension when she shared at a meeting, but she did it any way.
She practiced every suggestion she was given in this program and I was privileged to witness it.
That young woman became my sponsor because I =knew= she had already experienced a way to stay sober through all the difficulties I was facing in my own sobriety. She never suggested I do anything that she had not already had to do before me. She told me the story of J’s grief and how it ingrained in her the realization that nothing, absolutely nothing, is a reason to drink.
So the three of us were standing at the head of the table with a total of 105 years of sobriety among us. Me with my 30 years, my sponsor with 35, and J with 40 years that day. I was struck with awe that because of J’s example so many years ago, my sponsor worked her own program harder than ever and she became the example I clung to in my own program of recovery. Definitely a goose bump moment for me.
Thanks to them I have learned that the right choice in every situation is whatever is most gentle and loving of me and my sobriety. As long as I do that I can have a sober life beyond my wildest dreams. I do, no matter what happens.
Please feel free to share on whatever you need to share in order to stay sober another day. This is your meeting and your chance to do what is best for your own recovery.
Thanks, Mari Ann