Upward Spriral

Upward Spiral: any self-reinforcing process that creates a valuable resource as it grows

This title is not an expression commonly used.  Its counter-point, downward spiral, is much more well-known.  And certainly in active addiction, the latter expression aptly describes life.  But in recovery, the opposite happens.  First, you feel better physically, then you think more clearly, you build a slow confidence in your ability to succeed, and you continue to build upon this success day by day, in many different facets of life.

The thinking in any 12-step program is that the upward spiral is infinite, if you continue to reach out your hand to help another in recovery.  If you stay active in the program, and continue to be of service to others, there is no limit to the happiness and serenity you will feel.

I had my first inkling of what that message means this week.  One of the very first times I chaired a meeting (which basically means I led the group through the reading and discussion assigned for that day), a man approached me and let me know that this was his first AA meeting and he was unsure what to do.  I acted automatically, as most would, by doing everything I could to explain the format and make him feel as comfortable as possible.  After all, it had not been that long ago that I had been in the very same seat.  So I spoke with him at our mid-meeting “intermission,” and again at the end of the meeting.  He wound up coming back frequently to the same meetings, and he even went to a few different ones I suggested.

Then summer came and I saw him less frequently, due to kid schedules, work and vacations.  This past week I attended a meeting I do not usually attend, and, lo and behold, this same man was now chairing the meeting!  I was so excited for him, and I marvelled at how fast time flies (you must have 90 days sober to chair a meeting, so I knew at least 3 months had passed since I first met him).

After the meeting I approached him to let him know, one-on-one, what it meant to me to see him chairing the meeting, and to congratulate him on a job well done.  Instead of thanking me, he looked amazed, and said, “I should be thanking you!”  He went on to explain… he attended that first meeting with a plan already in place.  He even brought the money with him to the meeting to make the plan happen:  he would attend the meeting, then go directly to the local bar.  He would tell his wife that AA did not work out, they were a bunch of (expletive omitted).  He said, “but then I met you, and you were so nice to me, I couldn’t just walk out.  And then you stayed to talk to me after, and I realized I had to give this a shot.”

That is the way this program works… you reach your hand out, even the simplest gesture, and you can’t even believe the miracles that happen as a result.

Posted on August 18, 2012, in Recovery and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. That is an amazing story Joanne! It’s incredible how simple encounters and conversation can have such a huge affect and impact.


  2. “Every encounter is a holy encounter,” quoted from A Course In Miracles. Reading your post reminds me of who I want to be today. Thank you!


  1. Pingback: One Man’s Life Changing Moment – Let Life in Practices

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