“I am responsible. When anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help, I want the hand of AA always to be there. And for that I am responsible.” Responsibility Statement, 1965 International Conference of Alcoholics Anonymous, Toronto Canada
Today, by God’s grace, I give thanks for 21 years of recovering life. I am yet another living miracle, along with so many, many others. Yet added to the key ingredient of God’s grace and my “daily reprieve based on my spiritual condition” were the countless others I was blessed by, the hands of AA to help guide me along this way of “happy destiny.
Each year I take time on this day to look back at this journey, not to forget my past nor wish to shut the door on it. This year I received a very special “remembering gift” of this life. As the New Year began, I received an e-message from a Bill K. from Pittsburgh, desiring to reconnect with me. While my recovering life started in this area, I have been living on the East Coast for the past 18 years. I trusted our paths had crossed by his knowing who I was to find me across the social media universe, but how and where and when did our paths cross along this way? I searched my memory bank for our connections without success. Bill K. asked if I could read his story for an upcoming talk at a conference – and that is when the I am responsible connection was blessedly made again.
As I read his story of addiction, mental disabilities, near death, institutionalization, and into living this recovering life, the “aha” moment appeared. In his recovering journey as a trained addiction counselor, he was the one I was blessed to encounter in my first 28 days while in the rehab center in Pittsburgh. I recalled how remarkably blessed I was by Bill K’s authenticity, compassion, and desire for my living this recovering life. While deeply respectful of my vocation from his spiritual life, he clearly bonded with me as a recovering alcoholic first and foremost. I remembered his belief in ME, his willingness to speak the truth of his life to ME, a truth I knew as MY life as well. Bill K. was living the life of I am responsible.
The evolution of the I am responsible statement emerged for the 1965 A.A. International Convention in Toronto There is an article that identifies former AA trustee, Al S. as the author of the Responsibility Statement. You can read about the history of this at http://bigbooksponsorship.org/articles-alcoholism-addiction-12-step-program-recovery/aa-history/history-aas-responsibility-statement/ In the souvenir book for the 1965 Convention, Dr. Jack Norris writes: "...We must remember that AA will continue strong only so long as each of us freely and happily gives it away to another person, only as each of us takes our fair share of responsibility for sponsorship of those who still suffer, for the growth and integrity of our Group, for our Intergroup activities, and for AA as a whole ... As we become responsible for ourselves, we are free to be responsible for our share in AA, and unless we happily accept this responsibility we lose AA. Strange, isn't it?"
Today I celebrate 21 years of recovering life, by God’s grace and the many, many, many hands of AA compatriots along this wonderful way. I also was blessed to reconnect with Bill K. again earlier this month, and to offer my deep, deep thanks for his part of my recovering life. While Bill K. was grateful for his part in this one precious and wild life I have been blessed to live, Bill K. simply believed and said, “And for that I am responsible.” And for this gift, the gift of Bill K. and so many, many, many others, I am too!
Grateful always, in peace