Before I stopped drinking I walked in fear and isolation. It was not until AA that I came to know that my life has a purpose. It seems to be to help other people just like me. This is the gift of AA and living a sober life. I see now that suffering is a part of all our lives, but being a victim is optional. It is what we do with our pain that makes a difference. I realized through the help of others in the program of AA that I didn't need to be a victim anymore. When they reached out their hand to me, I said yes to their gift. They helped me see that my powerless could actually set me free, and that by surrendering my life as I knew it, I would be changed. It wasn't an instant change, but a slow gradual one that happened by going to meetings and not drinking and by helping others.By helping others I began to see that I was being released from my wounded spirit. I first saw this through the eyes of a newcomer! I will never forget the night a lady walked up to me at a meeting and asked me to be her sponsor. I only had about 6 months of sobriety and I was afraid. I tried to think of an excuse to say no, but I looked in her eyes and saw how serious she was. Before I could answer her she told me she was an atheist and she did not want to hear about Jesus because she didn't believe in him or God. She had never gone to church or read a Bible in her entire life. I was speechless. I wanted to say no. How could I share with her my sobriety and not talk about God--the God I knew and loved? Then I remembered when I had asked for help someone had said yes to me. Couldn't I do the same for her somehow? I would do my best and so I promised her I would not force my Christian beliefs on her. I decided to show her the love of Christ with my actions instead of my words. I started slowly using secular words and ideas as we did each step. Sometimes I would hit a wall where I knew no other way to explain something to her or how to share my experiences without a story or an idea that was part of what I believed. We agreed that I would tell her in advance that I needed to use a Christian idea and gradually she began to trust me and just let me share however I needed to. This is how we began the steps and our friendship.
As we went through the steps I started to realize what I would have missed this relationship if I had not said yes. By doing the steps together we learned to trust each other and to trust that the steps would work for her as they had for me. To my greatest surprise she began to help me. She became a mirror so I could truly see my true reflection. We were more alike than different! She saw herself as a victim just as I had. However, we shared the greatest character defect of all...Resentment! I never could see resentment in myself till I met her. Resentment was the log in my eye that I had to release! The whole experience with this person made me see the purpose of Jesus' life and what he was calling us to do. It is the action of really living in community with one another and loving one another that we can lift each other up. She saved me from my resentful self. She has been one of the greatest gifts in my life and I almost said no!
My dear friend died last year after being sober for seven years from COPD. It was my honor to have been with her through her illness and to help her make choices about the end of her life. She knew it was time to truly surrender and let go for real and she allowed me to walk that last mile with her. I cannot describe in words the sorrow and joy of this experience, but it has been profound and it changed me forever. Our last words together were words of love and surrender. I can truly say we became like Christ to one another. Although her faith didn't look like mine it didn't matter. I knew she found her Higher Power because she died sober and free. Just like the man Jesus healed from Gerasenes that was living in the tombs alone and destitute from his personal demons, my friend and I were healed and made whole again too. We are no longer possessed by our addiction. We are always being saved by the love of God no matter what words we use to talk about our Higher Power. God's grace comes to us in many ways. Sometimes we become aware of it when we sayv"YES" to another alcoholic!