Friday, September 25, 2009
I enjoyed the meeting yesterday. The topic was about how we carry the message of the program. I like that topic.
Many don't think that it's possible to carry much of a message when one is new to the program. But I think that there are a lot of ways to carry the message. I think of it as service as suggested in the Twelfth Step. Service which is Al-Anon's third legacy is vital for the fellowship. It means that I strive to do as well as to be.
Anything done to help a relative or friend of an alcoholic is service: a telephone call to a despairing member or sponsoring a newcomer, telling one's story at meetings, forming groups, sponsoring Alateen groups, arranging for public information, distributing literature, and financially supporting groups, local services, and the World Service Office.
I tell my sponsees to just talk to the newcomers. Get their phone number. I'm always grateful when a newcomer shows up as one did yesterday. She was brought by an AA friend of her husband who is now in detox. She shared that her guilt about "kicking" him out was overwhelming. But she didn't know what to do, how to fix him, how to take away his alcoholism. All of this is a reminder of where I was, how far I've come, and where I don't want to be again. A lot of people stepped up after the meeting to talk to her and encourage her to keep coming back.
Sitting and listening to newbies vent or cry, listening to an older member going through tough times and unable to "see the light" at the moment, can often be sad. But usually another member will share something uplifting, saying what helped them and carried them through the tough times. That is another way to carry the message, and it's a gift that I can bring to a meeting that might just change the tone.
I can remember when I never thought that there would be anything funny at a meeting. There was absolutely nothing to laugh about. This was alcoholism, damn it and it was heartbreaking. Now, I can see the humor in lots of things that I share. More often than not, we begin to learn to laugh again. A lot of that comes from just having gratitude over the small things.
I know that recovery is "a way of life" rather than "a program". I am learning how to live life in a healthy way. For me it means taking what I learn and applying it to everyday life, to everything in my life.