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.


  1. You strike a good chord here. Not only newcomers but old timers also have those days where support is needed. You would think 20+ years and I've got it licked. Nope. I've been having some rough patches. You have to reach out. You must seek guidance from those who empathize with the road your on in that moment. We don't need nice sweet compliments, we need to be reminded of the hard work put in, the cost of going back & the ability to see through the moment of time we are fighting the fight. Old, young - doesn't matter. We can all offer something to someone in need.

  2. A spirit led life...

    A lovely concept and possibility - thank you...

    Blessings and aloha...

  3. It's so true that what we learn spills over into every aspect of our lives. I used to just apply it to living with my qualifier, but then slowly I saw how it could benefit me in other aspects of my life as well. It truly is a way of living.

  4. as the saying goes we can only keep it if we give it away.Thanks for this message.

  5. I shared last night in response to someone who hasn't seen the light yet (some-timer) and has been in pain. I said that I could not keep bad things from happening to my drinking spouse. It was not in my power. This was more blunt then I cared for but it just came out in my sharing. How grateful I am to be reminded that carrying the message means not dressing it up, wrapping it up and making it something it's not.


  6. Your service work extends to the blog community probably more than you can imagine, at least it has for me and I am grateful for it. You make a great difference!

  7. Small things done from the heart can make big changes. You are of great service here too. Your message is always very clear. Get busy and get better!

  8. So true..I just have to get MUCH better at reaching out without reaching out, pulling somebody's collar and being under the illusion that I can force them to want what I want.

    Good message today.

  9. i have always found that the people who do the most 'constant thought of others' are the most content and liberated from self obsession. the more service becomes a way of life, the better life feels.

    glad you have had the good fortune to experience this for yourself and see how much it ! brightens the heart to give of oneself.
    Have a great weekend on the boat or wherever you happen to be :)

  10. Today after my doc appointment I found my feet taking me to an al anon meeting I have not been to in many, many weeks and it was a good meeting and I am ever so grateful...that my feet knew where I needed to go.

    Have a good weekend Syd.

  11. I,like so many others here,can so relate to this post.Though I do not attend meetings,I have found laughter to amazingly helpful in times of insanity AND in times of letting go..One of my fave posts you've written,Syd!

    Thank you for sharing!

  12. I agree with Mom of Opiate, sharing strength hope & experience in the form of blogging is a great service to oneself and to others; what you share is a great service to me--and so many others, as can be seen here in this long list of responses to your blog. Thanks for sharing! Thanks for making a difference.

  13. Great post! I think it is a blessing to be able to find humor and laughter in what we think of as the worst of situations!

  14. I dont relate to people not believing they can carry a message when new, heck just showing up is one message, coming again that's another, and soon, in just a couple of short weeks, stuff begins to change, you begin to be able to stop fidgeting, to begin really listening after you've formulated what you are going to say ;) and then, suddenly you listen to something so AMAZING you forget about thinking about what you're going to say and you're just overwhelmed with ... and the tears come to your eyes and healing begins...because on that day you have realized you are not alone. That message, never fails to make tears come to my eyes too... even now. All those stages, those emotions, that participation, it all encourages me to keep going, keep seeking God, keep working in the program that gave me freedom.

  15. you're right. in the beginning there's nothing remotely amusing. but thankfully life does continue and time and good practises ease the burden.


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