Long distance hugs
December 2017 | Issue Title Here

Long distance hugs

For many years, Faro, British Columbia (a community of 2,500 people), had three AA meetings a week. Our group would travel great distances to go on Twelfth Step calls and help other groups start up. Occasionally we’d go by ski-doo or snowmobile to remote trapline cabins. One time, we took a call from the town Norman Wells. We couldn’t travel all the way there to help them that time, but we did send a meeting kit and literature.

When the mine shut down for the last time here in 1996, the population of Faro dropped to approximately 350 people, and I eventually found myself the only AA member left. So I started volunteering and doing service for others at the local Ambulance, Fire, Search and Rescue. While this was good, it didn’t make up for the spiritual aspects of my AA program that I was missing. Over time, my attitude slipped into a place I really didn’t want to be. I definitely wasn’t feeling as well as I like to.

Luckily, in 2006 I got a call from the Whitehorse remote chair. He asked if I’d be interested in helping with a telephone AA meeting. White Rock, British Columbia, was up for sponsoring a telecommute phone meeting and I was the lucky candidate.

The phone meetings ran every two weeks for a short time. Then at my request, we stepped it up to once a week with alternating sponsors on the White Rock end. We read and studied the Steps and Traditions on our calls. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this meeting. I’m so grateful for the other AA members taking time from their busy lives here in British Columbia to assist us remote members in our journey through sobriety. I get to see a demonstration of commitment to service by their consistent, reliable and timely call each week.

I can still suffer the pain of loneliness and mild depression here in Faro, but I now have some great tools to drag myself out of it if I should so choose. Sometimes, I’ll suffer a bit anyway, just because I can.

I’ve gained some good friends through this phone service. We have actually visited each other—both ways. When I travel to the lower mainland (not often), I’m provided with a place to stay, food and hugs in abundance. I feel loved and cared for, just as when I first got to AA back in 1982.

Each phone meeting reminds me of my early days and the feelings I had at that time. It’s so valuable to me. I can actually feel the love over the phone.

And the funny thing is, I don’t especially like telephones.

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