Grapevine Online Exclusive

Published March 2011.

Web Exclusive: I Was Becoming My Own Higher Power

A member got so involved in service, she forgot her primary purpose.

Who, me teachable?

Around my fifth or sixth year of sobriety, life was good, beyond my wildest dreams, and it still is thanks to AA and my higher power. When I had five years of sobriety, I was told, “You got your marbles back, now you have to learn how to use them.” As a matter of fact, my service sponsor actually gave me marbles. I had a sponsor, a service sponsor and a sponsee. I was an active member of my home group. I was the GSR. I was going to district meetings, area assemblies, mini conferences, conventions—you name it. I was carrying out our primary purpose. AA told me, “Our primary purpose is to stay sober, and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety.” I believed that I certainly had that covered. I was sober and doing all this service work and sponsoring. I was helping the newcomer and giving back to AA. It certainly seem to me that I had a “lock” on this, until an old-timer, who also happens to be my grandsponsor, pointed out that I was not being open, that I was closing myself off from AA.

Well, what was she talking about, I thought. I’m sober and I am doing all this service work. How could she say that to me? What a resentment I had. It lasted about a year too. The good news is that with my sponsor’s help and what she and AA had taught me about resentments and my grandsponsor, who continued to love me unconditionally, I finally got over it, especially because my grandsponsor was correct. I had forgotten a very important part of our primary purpose and that is…I am also the “other alcoholic” who still needs help achieving sobriety, a sobriety that was and still is achieved only one day at a time with the help of AA (those other alcoholics). I was so busy doing service work and sticking my hand out to the new person that I was not grabbing hold of the hand of sobriety that came before me, the hand that was so freely passing it on to me. I was not remaining teachable. Not only was I short-changing myself and the person I was sticking my hand out to, but I was becoming my own Higher Power. What an eye-opener that was. Thank God for the wisdom of those other alcoholics. They save my life.

-- Loretta C.

Mahwah, New Jersey

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