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Published May 2012.

The Next Right Step

He got a little help from his higher power in trying to figure out what to do

I've been sober for more than two decades. Today, my wife is in a treatment center, two states south of here. The stack of books on my nightstand recently grew after I attended a family week to support my wife's recovery from depression, anxiety, and trauma. And because this week is spring break at work, my normal meeting attendance has tripled. Still, there is a sense of discomfort and unrest and that persistent question of what is the next right step. What is the next indicated step?

The morning meditation meeting began, as it always does, at 6:30, or about 15 minutes after I rolled out of bed. During the sharing part of the meeting, I cringed when I heard the new guy talk about how his children are his everything, and how he lives to get them back. Someone else retorted with his view of what "We" need to do in order to stay sober." (Please don't believe that alcoholics in AA meetings restrain themselves from directly responding to another's opinion!). The book has a passage - "wife or no wife, job or no job ... " - that reminds me where my priority must be. Finally, an old timer explained that it is not his place to dictate to anyone what needs to be done to remain sober. Our book offers suggestions, not directives. He recalled a man who has been happily sober for over 30 years, yet does not need AA to practice the principles of a life content and peaceful. "Alcoholics Anonymous has no monopoly on sobriety."

-- Keith H.

McMinnville, Oregon

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