Over the last few years my wife and I were able to travel and experience the beauty of this wonderful world. We attended AA meetings in all of the countries that we traveled to. I would have never believed that a skid row alcoholic who came to AA years ago on parole from the state of Texas could have ever imagined the life that was given to me.
This past May my wife and I got to travel to the United Kingdom to spend a month experiencing England, Wales and Scotland. It was a trip of a lifetime. My wife had dreamed of it since she was a little girl. The history, the sites and the people were so wonderful. The AA meetings we attended were one of the highlights of our trip. On the 24th day of our trip, we arrived in Scotland—a dream come true for my wife and me. She was 58 percent Scottish and felt like she was home. We had a long day visiting Edinburgh Castle and walking the Royal Mile. We headed to the home where we were staying for the night and I went to bed early. My wife stayed up to work on the next day’s journey.
In the morning when I woke, all the lights were on and I discovered my wife had passed away in the middle of the night. I was utterly in shock. Total powerlessness overwhelmed me. I felt like lying down and dying. If it were not for my friend who was traveling with us, I would not have known what to do.
She called the paramedics. They arrived and pronounced my wife deceased and then the police arrived. After everyone left, I sat there trying to figure out what my next step would be as I prayed for the knowledge of God’s will and the power to carry it out.
In any respectable home in Scotland there is always a bottle of scotch. I took one look at it and smiled. I knew that would not be a solution to what I was feeling. I grabbed my phone and pulled up the U.K. meeting app and found the next AA meeting I could get to. I headed into Edinburgh to a noon meeting called the First Edinburgh, the oldest AA group in the city. I felt at home and safe. The group members loved me and let me share everything I was going through.
As it turned out, the mortuary where my wife was taken was one block away from the First Edinburgh Group. l smiled to myself, knowing that my wife would make sure she had gotten as close to a meeting as possible. She was one month shy of 30 years of continuous sobriety. One of the members of First Edinburgh had been a mortician at that mortuary. I really started feeling like it was all going to be OK. When I shared that my wife had Scottish ancestors, someone mentioned that maybe my wife just needed to come home.
Over the next week and a half I attended meetings all over Edinburgh. They had me lead meetings, they had me show up early and help set up, they had me chair a Traditions study and they had me stay late and help clean up. They even invited me to have dinner with them. One day a past delegate of the U.K. General Service Conference sat with me in the train station and we talked and talked while I waited for my train. This was special, because I recently served as a delegate at our own General Service Conference in the U.S.
The AA members of Scotland all treated me just like my home group members back in Texas. They even sent me home with a 30-year token for my wife. If it were not for AA around the world, I would not have had the love and support that I needed to get though this.
The support continued when I got home, with members of AA waiting at the airport with open arms. Today I continue to do service at my home group. I work with newcomers, carry the message behind the walls and carry the message through Public Information and Cooperation with Professional Community in my community. Each day our spiritual principles guide me to live life as I continue on this spiritual journey.
I hope one day to return to Edinburgh to share my love with the AA members in Scotland. For now, I share my love with the AA members I meet here.