Friday, September 07, 2007


One of the tenets of faith in 12-Step sobriety is that, ultimately, we get clean and sober in order to be of service to others. In fact, we say that our "primary purpose is to stay sober and to help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety."

Everything else in our lives becomes... not unimportant, but certainly secondary to our sobriety. It has to be that way because without our sobriety (first) we wouldn't have anything else. We'd lose life partners, children, careers, fortunes and health if we started using again.

Sometimes that "service" we render to others takes the form of one-on-one sponsorship of a newcomer. A sponsor's job in recovery is, simply, to lead the newcomer through the 12-Steps of recovery. It's not to be "the fixer." It's not to be mommy or daddy, or Dear Abby, or Bank of America or Triple AAA. But it is to share the sponsor's "experience, strength and hope" regarding their own experience with the Steps. Period.

And sometimes that service comes in the form of serving in some leadership function or another. Here's where it gets tricky. We have no President or Chairman of the Board or, indeed, much "management" at all, to speak of. As we say, "our leaders lead, but they do not govern" and anyone, anyone at all, can be "recalled" from a leadership position at any time simply by means of a "group conscience." These positions are always an honor to fill.

Back in May I was elected by my home group to lead a Friday morning beginner's meeting here in Manhattan. This was the third time I've been elected to this post over the past seven years. The length of the term is six months. I have a co-chair and we alternate Fridays from July 1 through December 31.

For reasons nobody quite understands (God?) this Friday morning meeting has grown by leaps and bounds over the past 7 years. This morning (my turn) we had 75 people turn out for it. We ran out of time before everyone could "share." When I see that this is going to happen I try to pick out newcomers in the crowd to call on because they are the most likely to drink. The old timers might cop a resentment over not being called on, but in the immortal words of my sponsor, "screw 'em if they're that overly sensitive."

He's right, of course. He always is (he also monitors this blog - "LOVE YA, BRO'!"

I look forward to Friday's meeting more than any other in the week. When I sit up in the front of that room and see the looks on the faces of people who are trying, like me, to get better... when I witness their struggles and their losses and their victories, small and large, I am overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude and with a profound belief in God and in miracles.

For any day that 75 alkies and druggies don't pick up a drink or a drug is nothing short of a friggin' miracle.

1 comment:

Bev Sykes said...

Have I mentioned how much I love you?