Just had to ask to see the Hand Reaching Out.
I decided to start this blog at lunchtime today. I’ve only got thirty minutes left, let’s see what I’ve got.
I received a small bonus from work, so I went out and bought the cheapest, lightest laptop I could find to replace the one that recently just died. You can guess – that’s the one I’m currently working on right now. It’s a slow machine by today’s current standards, but it’s smaller, faster, and lighter than my old beast, and it is getting the job done, so I’m okay with that.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the steps lately. I’m supposed to be speaking at a speakers meeting this coming 20th of January. I’ve been bothered by a couple of things:
- Being in front of people.
- Feeling unqualified to speak to this group of people about this particular path of recovery.
So #1 I am getting used to. It will still be nerve racking, but I know I’ll be okay with it – it scares me, but I won’t die.
However, #2 I’m not so confident on. The reality of the situation is that, as important as this group is to me, I’ve not fully used them to reach my state of recovery. I’ve used many resources to get to where I’m at, from a recovery center, to reading materials, to counseling, to various 12-step groups, to the few friends that I’ve gained and learned to trust along the way. These are all highly important in my recovery, and that I can talk about.
But the two most recent speaker meetings I’ve been two have had me bothered, not because I disagree with anything being said, but because they are talking about doing the 12-steps, getting a sponsor, service work, etc., etc. – all very important indeed, and I hear about that in ANY 12-step program (not just AA), but I have yet to complete The Steps. Hell, I’ve just been “sitting” on step four for around a year. I mean, I’ve rewritten it several times (because when I think I’m done, something else comes up, it seems), but I want to move forward, and I don’t feel like I am.
My current sponsor is more friend-like than guide-like. I mean, he’s a great guy, but we have a hell of a time connecting (time wise), and I see him more rarely these days, so it is difficult to work with each other. But when we do get together, he's a lot more of a friend, a good friend, which I've needed those times we've sat down to talk, and he's helped me work through some more serious, "non-AA" stuff, which I seriously needed help with. To put things in perspective, he's a retired counselor, so he knows his shit. And to top it off, he's also Buddhist, which is one of the very reasons I asked him to sponsor me. But to my point, I love the guy, he's great; it's just a timing issue – we can't seem to connect often enough.
I attended a meeting where they plan a bunch of activities for people in recovery. It was a fun group from what I could see. Part of the reason I attended was that I need the activities – just sitting at home or in my car drawing/photography/reading/writing/whatever is nice from time to time, but I must have interaction with human beings. My counselor told me that we’re “social creatures, we crave connections with each other.” That didn’t make sense to me until just recently, and I notice that the more I am around people, not only am I happier, but I also crave being around people when I am not. I still don’t “get it,” but I know it is happening, so I’m just “going with the gut” on this one.
The leader at this particular meeting was a man I saw speak one night. (Hell of a story he’s got.) He sent a text out to everyone at the meeting, reminding them of our job to spread out and visit other meetings. I replied to his text, telling him that I enjoyed the meeting the other night, and that sparked a huge text conversation.
I began to explain the position I was in, as stated above, and he immediately began working with me. We brainstormed, thinking of new people that could sponsor me. A day went by, and then I suddenly found myself talking to him again, this time in more depth. As we texted (because I have a harder time talking over the phone (aka: verbalizing – I know, surprise surprise)), he began asking me questions, suggesting pages to read, explaining things – the very things I need to hear, the very advice I was asking for, and the next thing I know, I’ve got assignments to return to him.
All it really took was me reaching out to someone, talking, explaining my situation, and suddenly – I am getting what I need. I am now being walked through the steps by a knowledgeable person, whose answering me by telling me I have to be willing to do it his way, and who’s showing me what he’s done to achieve his apparent serenity – which is the only thing I’ve ever asked for.
So I've got a new sponsor. Now I need to find a way to contact my second, previous sponsor, and tell him he's been replaced. I hate that part. I don't want to do it, especially to such a great guy who's helped me tremendously.
Although I don’t believe I’ll get through all 12 of the steps in the next two weeks (which I’m okay with), I do feel like I’m getting my hands on something tangible, and sinking my teeth into some meat. I know I am already past 1, 2, and 3 (with both my previous sponsors), and I realize I'll have to redo them, but I will at least have a good start (a real start) on the 12-steps and the way that this particular program wants it to be done; so although I may not be qualified to talk on all 12 steps, I will be qualified to talk about what I’ve done up to now that has kept me sober.
And after typing that statement, maybe I've been missing the point of the speaker meeting all along. I mean, isn't that what we're trying to do, tell our story of how we got to where we're at right now; so a poor, lost soul will see a distant light and get a glimpse of Hope? That's what saved me.
Any path that leads to the Light, is the right path.