M(3), 11/3: A Vision For You

 

I know I say this at the start of every month, but… I can’t believe it’s already November!

Today’s reading selection was the final chapter in Part I of the book Alcoholics Anonymous (aka The Big Book), entitled “A Vision for You.”  This chapter more or less encapsulates the entire 12-step program, and does so in a beautiful, profound, and energizing way; it is regularly regarded as the most inspirational chapter of the book.  The image above contains the last two powerful paragraphs of the chapter, I get goosebumps every time I read it!  And I am not alone, this same sentiment was shared by nearly every attendee this morning.  This chapter reinforces for those of us lucky enough to call ourselves members of this 12-step fellowship, why we go to meetings, why we work the 12 steps, and why we are always ready to help the next suffering alcoholic.  The answer is that by doing these simple things, we are given a life that exceeds our wildest dreams.

I selected this chapter because if aligns with the feelings I experienced as a result of some events from yesterday.  A friend asked me if I would join her at a meeting she attends; she thought I might enjoy it too.  I agreed, and it wasn’t until that morning, when I mapquested it, I discovered a personal significance:  it is the very first meeting I attended after I hit my alcoholic bottom.

When I realized it, I almost called and cancelled.  What possible good could come of reliving that horrific weekend?  I could just as easily attend another meeting with her later in the week.  However, remembering that my going may very well be helping my friend, and it would be pretty darn rude to cancel that late, I decided to thumb my nose at these feelings and soldier on.

The ride to the meeting was chock full of unpleasant memories, and landmarks of active addiction.  Walking in to the beautiful stone church which housed the meeting, I passed the area where, on that frigid Sunday in January, I smoked probably a half-dozen cigarettes, still in so much shock that I had no real appreciation for the complete mess my life had become.

These unpleasant thoughts are rolling around my head as the meeting starts and the chairperson announces that the format is something called the “ask it basket.”  She explains that as this is a newcomer’s women’s meeting (both of which are facts that escaped me 3 years ago), they offer this format as an opportunity to ask questions in an anonymous way, and see how other women are handling/have handled said situation.  This turns my mood around quickly; this is a new format for me, and I’m always one to be captivated by shiny, new objects.

There were a bunch of really interesting questions, but the one that enchanted me, and the one I chose to use as the springboard for my sharing, was:

Why do we have to go to so many meetings?

I love this question, because it is absolutely one I was asking on a regular basis when I dragged my hours-sober-self into this very meeting!  I explained to the group the circumstances of my last encounter with this meeting, and how for the 8 or 9 months prior to it I had been attending meetings, but was anything but a true member of the fellowship.  Up to that point, I attended meetings because I was satisfying somebody else’s idea of how to get sober.

And on that day, I’m fairly certain I left the meeting the same way I entered it… shattered, heartsick, terrified.  But that night, praying to God in a way I hadn’t before, I considered those kind women who took time out of the meeting to show me some helpful sections of the Big Book, sections that are important to my sobriety even today.  I considered those women and realized they go to meetings because they want to, not because someone else wants them to.  They go even though they have years, some even decades, of sobriety.  Those women seemed happy and peaceful in a way that my brain could not begin to comprehend.

And on that night, I resolved to go to a meeting every day, and pray like crazy that I could get what those women have.  Failing that, I prayed that the obsession to drink and use drugs would be lifted.

That day, almost 3 years ago, I was awoken to my husband telling me to pack my bags, he was taking me to my Mom’s, he did not want me around him or the children anymore.  I arrived like the unwelcome surprise that I was on my Mom’s doorstep, and was met with horrified disbelief that I would be taking up residence there.  I was taken to the meeting, and I could feel the disappointment from my sponsor.  I left that meeting to go start my new life without my husband and children.

Yesterday, I woke up, gloriously refreshed due to the extra hour of sleep permitted.  I sat with my husband enjoying our morning coffee, and we watched our favorite Sunday morning program.  I drove myself to the meeting to spend time with my friend.  I went home, picked up my son, and together we celebrated a successful cross-country season with his team mates.  We returned home to get organized for the week ahead while my husband put the finishing touches on his world-famous chili, served in bread bowls that he picked up at the bakery while I was at the meeting.  We sat down as a family to devour the feast, then cleaned up and quietly ended our weekend in the family room in front of the fire.

It may seem counterintuitive to remind ourselves of our painful past mistakes and horrors, but, for me anyway, it keeps my blessings fresh, and reminds me of the progress and growth I’ve made.  It is absolutely worth it.

Today’s Miracle:

Two newcomers to my meeting today, and three anniversaries celebrated (3 years, 5 months, and 4 months).  In a group this small (13 people), that is amazing!

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Posted on November 3, 2014, in Monday Meeting Miracles, Recovery and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Your post made me feel so happy. I’m so glad that you had the courage to visit the past so that you saw your brave journey and the love in your present that it has brought you. Bea x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You are amazing, Josie. Your posts exude generosity, gratitude and gentleness. You live the spirit of the program, as the actions of it. I have been reading a lot about the power of meetings lately – most likely because it’s a glaring void of my program at the moment, not having gone to a meeting in about two months (I know…) I will get back there. But seeing how you relived that first meeting – we all have those stories of that first meeting. Some are blockbuster moments, some are meh, some are quiet. But they all involve that feeling of self-loathing and confusion. of being broken. And look at you now – all cleaned up nicely and doing for others what they did for you.

    Inspiring.

    Thank you for this and for all your Monday posts. It’s attractive (not promotional) to see that here. You have a fantastic program, my friend.

    Blessings
    Paul

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the kind words. Believe me, I am middle of the road in terms of program involvement… I’m sure it seems like I’m the poster child for AA, but it’s like anything else… there are people all around me doing much, much more. I tend to think of meeting attendance as an ebb and flow thing… some months I’m all over it, some months I wonder what the hell happened. There’s no doubt in my mind that you will get back to it at some point. But for now, I am off to read the latest and greatest from you!

      Thanks for all you do to keep me sober, Paul!

      Like

  3. Great story. Thanks for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, Josie, what a powerful story and testament to the power of recovery. (as an aside, I’m sorry I’m late in leaving a comment on this.) What struck most is how you pushed aside the unpleasant feelings and went to the meeting to support someone else, and in doing so got so much more. When we’re new, the idea of turning our life around feels so abstract, impossible even, but your presence and sharing offered a concrete hope to those who were there and still suffering. What an amazing story…this is going to stay with me for awhile.

    Like

  5. That’s my favorite part of the big book. I always get goosebumps when I read it.

    Liked by 1 person

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