From the October 2018 magazine.

The stranger

On a quiet road, an alcoholic encounters a man who gives him the faith to sing at the top of his lungs

My first attempt to consciously work the Steps was a selfish one. I was seeking relief from the terrible guilt I felt about the harm I had caused someone. So I decided to try my hand at one of those Ninth Step amends I’d heard about. At the time, I had no sponsor, I’d only successfully completed the First Step and I had yet to crack open my Big Book. My logic was that if I could just make this person understand how bad I felt, then I would feel better. Needless to say, neither one of us was smiling at the end of my efforts.

I had prayed for help as I drove the 100-plus miles to meet this person and again as I drove home afterward, feeling disheartened and confused. However, during both trips, I was unsure about who or what, if anything, I was praying to. I was nearly convinced that it was pointless to even try. My prayer went something like this: I don’t know if you’re even there, but I need help. I’m trying my best, but I need to know if I’m heading down the right road with this.

-- Gerry R.

Clancy, Montana

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