I am a sponsor – my “job” is to help others understand the Steps, and how they can work in their lives. I try to help my sponsees gain knowledge of the Program, and I do this by means of relating my “story.” Being a sponsor is a form of mentoring, about the disease of alcoholism, and how the A.A. Program can help in recovery. I listen, I suggest, I relate, I share my experience, strength and hope with others. I love being a sponsor, and I love my sponsees. I encourage my sponsees to participate in their own recovery by means of being of service, however that defines itself for them. Some are “trusted servants,” some are sponsors, and some pour coffee at the meeting, while others talk with newcomers, and still others are newcomers and work to sit still, and keep coming back, time and again. Each sponsee is different from the others, and yet we combine to make a “family” of sisters – change, growth, understanding and love are what we hope to achieve, and then, as the Program directs, we work to “pass this on to others.”
There is always hope. Sometimes it does get buried underneath the muck that life can be, once in a while. But it survives, day after day, and year after year. I only need to look around the rooms of A.A. to see hope – I will hear “hope” in the voices of those sharing their experience, and strength by means of their “story.” When I look around at the faces of those in the rooms, I find not only hope but a determination borne of desperation. I love the faces of newcomers – they lift their heads and come alive with the “possibility” of a change. It was such an awakening when I first comprehended the idea of surrender, that turning my life and my will over to the care of my Higher Power would free me to reclaim the hope that I had lost along the way. What a sad situation it was to be without hope. Once I found it, I did not want to give it up – I embraced hope, and with it came an honesty that set me free. I have, once again, turned my life over to my Higher Power, and have accepted that God is still in charge of my life. As long as I claim sobriety, the rest of my life will be easier and tolerable. That ray of hope is still there, all it takes is a little honesty, and the courage to admit that I need help, and with that, the possibilities are endless.
There is no need to rush around, assuming one thing, then another. I can quiet my mind, I am capable of sitting still, I know I can utilize the many prayers in the Program. There is much I can do, and focusing on what I can do, instead of what I can’t do brings with it a sense of moving forward, a step out of the muck that my mind has become. I no longer have to deal with life issues alone, I have many friends in the Program of A.A. They reach out to me whenever a need is expressed, they surround me with their love, they offer a helping hand – these are my true “besties.” Acceptance is the key to remaining calm in the midst of a storm. Acceptance is the key to change and growth. Acceptance is the key to open the door to all the possibilities that life throws our way. God grants me – Serenity, Courage and Wisdom, I need only ask, and acceptance holds the door open for willingness, faith, and an acceptance of this life of spiritual recovery , one day at a time.
I believe that I cannot do this thing called recovery alone. I no longer sit by the door in the meeting hall, so I have a quick escape should someone call on me to say something. Today I am a part of the group, I am “one of the many,” I am nothing more and nothing less than “Bonnie, alcoholic.” My spiritual growth has been a true blessing, one that was not anticipated. I feel that I am truly blessed to have reached the tables of A.A., before complete destruction of my physical and mental well being. Blessings and rewards just keep on coming – the true rewards of recovery are in the love I receive from others, both in and out of the Fellowship. Today, I AM blessed, today I feel honored to be a part of, and today I feel the love from others both near and dear.
Today, I have a Higher Power at work in my life. I call mine God, and I have found many moments of peace and serenity knowing that my HP is right there for me, whenever I need Him. When I pray today, it is not a list of my wants, but more of a “thank you” for all my many blessings. I ask Him for the strength to carry the message of A.A. to others. I pray for my fellow sisters and brothers, that those who are ill will heal, that those who have a troubled heart can feel the love of those around them, that those in recovery know the healing power of faith and prayer. The spirituality of A.A. is the difference between recovery and sobriety. Recovery blesses me with a peace and serenity. Sobriety is needed to find recovery, but sobriety alone will not bring me peace.
Loss is painful, be it our nearest and dearest, or just a person we have come to know and love. There is loss in recovery. Sometimes our fellow members have reached a point in the disease of alcoholism where too much damage to the body has been done. I can think of several members who have been laid to rest, despite recovery. I hear about it and think “I am grateful to God for every day I have in sobriety.” One thing the Program teaches me is that grief is a feeling, and feelings come and go. I do not have to blot out my grief with drugs and alcohol. I can turn to others in the Program, others who will listen, others who will share their own grief – and how they “lived” through it. I came to the Program in a state of grief, I was making the decision to lay my alcoholism to rest. Walking through the doors of A.A. brought me all the comfort I needed at that time. Grief, when shared, lessens it. Joy, when shared, increases it.
Turning to God and the program of Alcoholics Anonymous was exactly what I needed when I first sought recovery. I found comfort in the rooms, I found hope at the tables, and I found that I was no longer alone with my grief – others had suffered loss, as well. The disease of alcoholism is a deadly disease, and while recovery will help us heal emotionally, the damage to our bodies cannot be undone. I am grateful to be upright and moving, in spite of my age and health. I believe God has more work for me in this lifetime, and I believe He will carry me through the tough times of loss and grief.