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From the April 2012 magazine.

April 2012: Delivering Big Books to Kenya

A doctor discovers joy helping alcoholics in Africa

A good friend of mine in AA tells the story of how, when faced with the prospect of surrendering his will and his life to the care of God, he was afraid God would ask him to give away all his possessions and move to Africa to be a missionary. The first time I heard him tell his story, I identified with his thinking—I had had that exact fear when taking the Third Step. I worried that God would choose for me some life of great sacrifice, one in which I would be resigned to quiet misery. God, it appears, is not without a sense of humor.

I got sober in August 1994, during the orientation week at my medical school. I was 23, full of arrogance and self-pity, and was motivated only to ease my own internal suffering. Thankfully, through God’s grace, good sponsorship and lots of Step work, I stayed sober and completed my degree. During my residency, I had the opportunity to volunteer in the Amazon jungle in Peru, delivering care to local villagers. Still largely motivated by self, I imagined an amazing vacation with some volunteering in the clinic to justify my presence there. I have found in sobriety that God uses my defects to lead me to where I can be useful. I was surprised to discover that the moments I enjoyed most involved interacting with and helping the local people, whether in the clinic, at meals, or watching the pick-up soccer games that were the highlight of the social calendar of the village. The seed was planted—I wanted to pursue more opportunities to bring free medical care abroad.

-- Mike S.

Clifton Park, New York

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