March 2011

Into the World

She once never left her house. Now she enjoys helping AA everywhere she can

At the end of my drinking, my world pretty much consisted of my bed and the kitchen table. Sure, I ventured out into that frightening world beyond my door—even made it to work many days—but usually only by promising myself a “reward” later if I managed to make it through another day. I staggered into Alcoholics Anonymous one day, not intending to stay or even wanting to get sober. This was simply the last stop before suicide, but at least then I would know I had tried everything else.

That was a few years ago, and like many others, my life has changed and expanded beyond anything I could ever have imagined, based on recovery, unity and service in varying measure. Over the years, I have become more active in service to Alcoholics Anonymous, and again I continue to reap unimagined rewards. A friend of mine says that recovery is in the Steps, unity in the Traditions, and service is in the concepts. These three sides of our triangle are equal, and if I shorten any one of them, I short-change my own recovery.

Along the road of recovery, the opportunities for service within Alcoholics Anonymous are many and there is something for everyone’s comfort level, as well as some growth opportunities. I was again reminded of this recently. As the Cooperation with the Professional Community (CPC) Chair our Area, I participated in our Doctor’s Training Program. As such, I had the opportunity to attend the annual luncheon of the National Council of Alcoholism and the Alcoholism Council of New York. It was held at a very lovely, upscale Manhattan restaurant with lots of silverware on the left, right and above the plate, and attended by television personalities, government officials and a few others whose names I recognized, some of whom were also being honored for their work and philanthropy in the field of alcoholism. A few days later, I was invited to do a CPC presentation with our Treatment Facilities Chair for staff at a homeless shelter in the Bronx. As I drove home, I kept thinking about the extremes of these two service events, how much larger my world has become, and the possibilities that present themselves along the sober journey of life—many of which occur through service.

I wouldn’t trade the richness and variety of my life today for anything. Okay, I admit I felt more comfortable at the homeless shelter, but I would not have passed up either experience. Service stretches me, and the possibilities of learning new things about me and what I can do continue to unfold. How about you?

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