Saturday, November 15, 2008

Doing my part

Since sharing my 5th Step with a trusted friend, I have felt myself open a more clear channel to my Higher Power. In doing so, this week I recognized a need to more thoroughly study recovery literature. I followed that "still quiet voice" into my first AA meeting on Thursday. Including that meeting, I've been to four AA meetings in the past three days.

Mind you that the AA Fellowship Club where I attended three of these meetings is less than five minutes from my house. It's been there for the full year I've lived in this house, and long before. I've never even known it was there, nor thought to darken the door of an AA room until Thursday, when that still, quiet voice said "Find it." I'm thankful to have been open and listening.

Don't misunderstand. I'm thankfully not plagued with the disease of alcoholism, though for the sake of my SLAA sobriety and my health, I do have a desire to stop drinking -- which is enough to qualify me to attend these meetings, particularly open meetings. Right now I simply need to study the 12 steps and 12 traditions and recovery literature in great depth. I need to hear the stories of recovery that I heard in those rooms where men and women have gathered for years together to read the AA Big Book and the 12&12. I need to hear from people whose sponsors have sponsored sponsors say things like, "It doesn't matter how you work the steps, you just have to do them." and "The most important step you work is the First Step."

As a result of attending these AA meetings over the past three days, I've gained a lot of insight into working my Sixth Step -- just by keeping my mouth shut and listening and applying what I learned to my SLAA program. I also heard a lot about the 9th step, and heard ESH from those who have done it. It was valuable insight, and I'm so grateful to have had access to it, to have been willing to go to any lengths to get it.

Because SLAA is a relatively new fellowship (founded in the 70s), I don't have access to multiple meetings with strong recovery, and in the SLAA meetings I do attend, the focus is often on the problem rather than the solution. I rarely even hear a person in an SLAA meeting who can say they've worked a 9th step, much less share their ESH on it. Don't get me wrong, I'm not running SLAA down, nor am I insinuiating that there aren't SLAA meetings all over the world where people are living in the solution rather than the problem. I am simply saying that those meetings are not, and have not been, in five years accessible to me. An online support group has been my lifeline to the SLAA program. I know that I am not alone. Thus I am committed to doing my part, with the strength and guidance of my Higher Power, to stay sober and continue to do service by serving as a sponsor and encourage others to join me in building a stronger culture of sobriety in our program.

Through this program, my life has been saved. I believe in it. I'll keep coming back and doing my part, because that's the only way it works for me.


Anonymous said...

Rae, I identify with you so much. Am also in recovery in several 12 Step programs (SLAA as one of them). Have only recently started attending AA and it has been a wonderful spark for my own recovery to hear the long term ESH. It is so valuable to see the difference between talking about the problem vs talking about the solution. And the Steps held within the solution if one is dedicated enough to work them. (As it says in the Big Book of AA, "Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path.")

Very happy to have found your blog, Thank you for your Experience, Strength and Hope!

vicariousrising said...

I would have a hard time if my recovery didn't spend most of the time in the solution, although getting any sort of support is very valuable.

Maybe you might find an open AA meeting in your area you can try to attend and see if it has more in terms of the 12 steps and solutions of what you need. I've found some groups are more open than others about different kinds of addictions. I personally think my alcohol addiction could have manifested as a sexual addiction or a drug addiction if the wind blew a different way on any given day. My internal demons were the same no matter what I used to try to escape from them. But talking about how to live my life rather than dwelling on the bad stuff has really set me free.