From the July 2013 magazine.

July 2013: Light Touch or Heavy Hand?

One member says you may never know who’ll deliver the hope

None of us in AA knows what another drunk needs to hear or how they need to hear it. We’re simply not that powerful. That’s God’s job. There are as many ways to reach out to a sick and suffering alkie as there are drunks. What may help one drunk may or may not help another.

There are those who reach out with softness, and certainly their way is valid because it helps them stay sober. That’s their truth. There are those who reach out with a heavy hand; some would say they are unkind or not compassionate. Well, I don’t know if that’s true or not, but if that’s what helps them to stay sober, then its valid for them. I’ve seen some who had the message of hope passed to them from some tough as nails AA members, and they heard what they needed to hear to put the booze down and begin taking the suggestions for the first time in months or years. I have seen some who got it the first time, and I’ve attended the funerals of some who simply refused to hear anything at all. Today, I try not to make comments on or judge how others reach out.

-- Patsy D.

Melrose, Massachusetts

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