Saturday, November 1, 2008

18 years for a friend

Today makes it 18 years since a good friend of mine had his last drink. I'm really happy for him. I can't tell you much about his story because he doesn't talk much about those days when he was drinking. I do know that he was in dire straits and at bottom when he was taken to detox.

He still goes to 4-5 meetings a week. He believes in the singleness of purpose for AA. I've had lots of discussions with him about how he thinks the fellowship is being diluted from what the original 100 started.

I'm glad that he has achieved 18 years of sobriety. I also know that he remains ever vigilant about his alcoholism.

I've read that even for those with long-time sobriety, there are moments when things don't seem to be working. And that happens in Al-Anon as well. Maybe the cycle is something like this:

a) Everything is going just fine and life could not be better.

b) Feelings occur that I'm "just not happy", not unhappy but something is missing.

c) My meetings don't go well. I'm not hearing what I need to hear, or the meetings aren't being done "right"

d) My prayer and meditations don't seem real.

e) Nothing I am reading strikes a chord with me.

f) My self-centeredness is a little too centered or my focus has shifted away from taking care of myself.

Maybe this is when I need to inventory what I'm doing, thinking and feeling. Or maybe I'm not doing, thinking or feeling what I need to. The solution comes from finding a power greater than myself to which I can turn.

I like the following passage:

"Learn daily the lesson of trust and calm in the midst of the storms of life. Whatever sorrow or difficulty the day may bring, God's command to you is the same. Be grateful, humble, calm, and loving to all people. Leave each soul the better for having met you or heard you. For all kinds of people, this should be your attitude: a loving desire to help and an infectious spirit of calmness and trust in God. You have the answer to loneliness and fear, which is calm faith in the goodness and purpose in the universe." from The Little Black Book

Happy 18 th. anniversary, D. --one day at a time.


  1. When I go to open AA meetings, what I need to hear usually comes out of the mouth of those who also believe in the "singleness" of AA spiritual program. I've heard the lamenting of the diluting of both programs for years. Thank God for the Traditions and Concepts! For me, if I don't get "diluted" myself then maybe I can use my voice if I think a meeting is wandering. Alanon has been my life preserver and I cling to it dearly. Like a wise-timer said, when we bring outside stuff inside--it becomes anything BUT Alanon. Good post and reminder to me to speak up.

  2. Your post is a very very nice example of working Al-Anon's Tradition #5 - or the part which states, ". . . by encouraging and understanding our alcoholic relatives, and by welcoming . . . "

    It's always a joy to hear the continued sobriety of a member of AA who has diligently sought recovery, and practices the steps and principles in all his affairs - one day at a time - in achieving such long-term sobriety. Congratulations D! I can share Syd's gratitude for your sobriety, as I, too, had a beloved alcoholic who qualified me to seek and work the wonderful program of Al-Anon.

    I whole-heartedly agree with Kim, Al-Anon provides me a life-preserver that I cling to for my peace and serenity. It's good to hear from the 'other side!'
    Hugs to you, Syd for your devotion!
    Anonymous #1

  3. Thank you for a beautiful, and for me, timely post.

  4. Like your friend, I think at some point one can stop talking (but not forget) about the bottom, and dwell on the changes.
    As far as the singleness of purpose..I have found many meetings available. Of course the basic tenets are not negotiable, but some of the other stuff..what kind of addict is allowed in or how many times you can say God..I think a person can find a meeting where they are comfortable. If you want to call it something beside Al-A, as one of my God centered groups does, then so be it.

  5. I love the passage you shared. Thank you Syd for sharing your insights. Its encourages me daily and I am grateful. More than you know.

  6. Hi Syd. Getting sober is a's staying sober that is the challenge, and especially if you want Quality and not just Quantity in your sobriety.
    Thanks for the good post and congrats to your friend.

  7. What a shining example of someone working the program.

  8. Just 4 years in comparison, do I wanna be 18 years sober, no because I would be 14 years older but its true the AA program is something you never stop learning, oh I have those feelings, those somethings missing feelings especially, yesterday at the club went well, i dont think its at those times i would weaken.

  9. Beautiful post indeed and thank you for the quote too, I have been reading the traditions in the 12 and 12 more lately and trying to work those along with my steps, I find that those help me to keep the singlenss of purpose and that is what keeps me sober.
    Thank you!

  10. My cycle always starts with "I don't feel like going to a meeting today, because everyone there is full of shit".
    I try to get my shoes on as quick as possible and get out the door to a meeting. It took me years to learn that.

  11. "Be grateful, humble, calm, and loving to all people." Wow, if only more people lately would practice that.

  12. The road does indeed get narrower, which puts us closer to the ditch.

    That passage is lovely, thank you for sharing it.

  13. I really like that Little Black Book quote. I think I do those things alot but still would like to read that three times a day.

    It helped tonight, Syd, because I made a mistake at work and am pretty stressed about working tomorrow. I'm trying to stay calm and I've already been putting it in God's hands and trying to trust and have faith that it will all work out for the best.


Let me know what you think. I like reading what you have to say.