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Through the Red Door Blog

In the early days of the Church, when the front door of the parish was painted red it was said to signify sanctuary – that the ground beyond these doors was holy, and anyone who entered through them was safe from harm.

In the lives of many recovering people, it is through these same red doors that sanctuary is found on a daily basis. Initially that sanctuary may not have started in the rooms with high vaulted ceilings and stained glass windows, but in the basements and back rooms of churches where 12-step meetings are held.

This blog was created for recovering people to share the experiences they found walking through those doors of safety, refuge and peace.

 
To submit a entry to the blog, please click here for the details or contact us at info@episcopalrecovery.org.

  • 09/27/2019 10:19 PM | Anonymous

    Nearly three years ago, our rector asked if she might refer a parishioner to me whose spouse is incessantly drunk, hiding the booze, but unable to hide the mumbling, stumbling muddle, the bruises and the breaks.  I agreed, but when the phone rang again, it was the alcoholic on the line, saying “I drink uncontrollably”. 

    It’s been a bumpy ride for my friends: recycling through detoxes and rehabs, lying near death on a hospital gurney and roiling in the codependent turmoil that is integral to all addictions. Now, a measure of hope is taking hold for this unhappy family to find sobriety and tranquility. It also has been, I must add, awkward for the couple within the parish. Church communities are uncomfortable and, at times, clumsy in respecting the privacy dignity of members in dire straits.

    The mission of our diocesan Recovery Advocates Network is to “support all who are affected by rampant substance use disorders. RAN is a diocese-wide network that fosters awareness, prevention, intervention, treatment and support, it envisions a safe community within the church. RAN enables recovery, expels shame and celebrates God’s grace outpouring a abundant life in recovery.” 

    We are not agents, interventionists, counselors or therapists. We are, ourselves, in recovery or intimately associated with someone who is. We offer our experience, strength, love and faith to the extent it is invited, welcome and helpful.  As a “network” constituted by the diocese, we have experimented with programs and events to bring light to our readiness to address issues of addiction. Two constraints hinder our success: our lack of resources to mobilize and deliver needed activities; the existing overload that burdens clergy, parish staff and volunteers, and our families in their ordinary (manic) 21st century lives. What to do? How do we bring the hand of twelve-step, spiritually based recovery “whenever anyone, anywhere reaches out for help and hope”?

    There are many answers, but one in particular seems promising – the existing programs within our parishes address pastoral care, outreach, wellness and spiritual  growth offer stunning varieties of activities and services that engage the interest and skills of our members. Grace brings its own structure.

    The key to tapping the potential of these extant resources is to meet people where they are. Until full-blown calamity parts the veil, denial reigns; few are ready to expose their own or their loved one’s travail: the disorder and disease of addiction. Our role as “good Episcopalians” is to care for the “least of these”, not be one of ‘em.  Perhaps, we simply lower the bar. Strikes me there’s a reference to that in Step One in the text of AA’s Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.

    St. Ignatius’s Spiritual Exercises cultivate detachment as foundational to spiritual life.  Vinita Hampton Wright recently blogged:

    “Disordered attachments are habits, patterns and addictions that inhibit authentic engagement with God and stifle honest reflection, deep listening with others, and constructive action. Beyond balanced attachments toward people, possessions, money or power, we prayerfully consider the relationships within our own selves – with our feelings, our bodies, our view of life. An attitude toward life that is neither dour pessimism nor blind optimism helps us recognize and prayerfully reconcile our emotional and physical habits. We are called to listen to God, reflect on our lives in view of God’s love, and put that love into action.”

    Adapted from “What Is an Unhealthy Attachment?” www.ignatianspirituality.com

    It is clear to me and others actively involved in helping the Episcopal Church engage our fellow congregants, our families and communities that our parish life offers many opportunities for conversation about the role of detachment in the stewardship of our souls. Everyone can occupy the top edge of the slippery slope, practicing the sacrament of presence. From that vantage point, we who have experienced the ride to the bottom of that precarious ridge can engage prayerfully, responsibly and effectively as grace and suffering summon us.


  • 09/19/2019 8:38 PM | Anonymous

    Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares (Hebrews 13:1-2).

    In his book REACHING Out*, Henri Nouwen wrote “…hospitality…is one of the richest biblical terms that can deepen and broaden our insight in our relationships to our fellow human beings.”

    We don’t talk much about hospitality in Recovery and yet it is a way of life for us as recovering addicts. We have learned to turn from selfishness and self-centeredness to reaching out, being present, being compassionate to those on the journey and those who are still suffering.

    Nouwen goes on to write: “To fully appreciate what hospitality can mean, we possibly have to be become first a stranger ourselves.”  Nowhere did I feel more a stranger than my fist meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. I didn’t want to be there. I couldn’t identify with “those people”. I told my boss I’d stop drinking and go to A.A. but had no idea as to what I was letting myself into. A stranger! I sat there judging everyone around me. I smoked like a chimney on fire. The music from the bar next door was much more inviting.

    I had left a friend’s house where he had poured me a glass of whiskey. Why didn’t I have my last drink?  Now I remember the last drink I didn’t get to drink. “Hi, my name is…..” Friendly strangers shook hands with me, welcomed me, got me coffee. Emotionally I was a million miles away. They were not just strangers to me. I was a stranger to myself. I told my boss I thought I might have a drinking problem. I wasn’t an alcoholic.  Now I felt like a stranger in a strange land and “those people” were most hospitable to me.

    “Love your neighbor as yourself.” I hated myself. As I listened to the stories, I felt inadequate. On one level I identified with them and, on the other, I was denying it as fast as I could. I was a stranger even to myself.

    Nouwen writes: “When hostility is converted into hospitality then fearful strangers can become guests revealing to their hosts the promise they are carrying with them. Then, in fact the distinction between host and guest proves to be artificial and evaporates in the recognition of the new found unity.”

    I put on a brave face. Acted as if. Got involved. Still, there was a wall I could not breach. No matter how nice, how good, “those people” were, I did not want to get close to them. I was not one of them.

    For almost five years I treaded water and then something happened. I was no longer a stranger to myself. I was beginning to like this person I looked at in the mirror. “I am an addict” Period.  I’ve experienced blackouts. I reached a point in life when I knew and admitted to myself that, while I had not lost a job, home, etc, I had lost all my values, I had become “morally bankrupt.”  I was looking at myself with compassion.

    The years of coming in early, setting up the room, cleaning ashtrays, making and serving coffee, had all paid off. These simple acts of hospitality had torn down my walls and I was able to see the people who had been hospitable to me, a stranger to myself and them. They had taken a risk, opened their hearts and minds, listened, and were patient with me and all my blunders and arrogance.

    As Nouwen wrote;”…the distinction between host and guest proves to be artificial and evaporates in the recognition of the newfound unity.”  Through atonement (at-one-ment)-steps 6-9, I had become at-one with myself and in so doing had become at-one with those I considered strangers. The inner hostility had evaporated and I was welcoming myself as much as I was welcoming others into my new found life.

    Living our Twelve Step way of life is a life of hospitality to the stranger within and the stranger without. We live the biblical message of being kind ‘to the stranger in your midst.”

    *REACHING OUT: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life. Henri Nouwen. 66-67. 


  • 09/11/2019 6:25 PM | Anonymous

    Slow down, you move too fast
    You got to make the morning last”

    I've been thinking about these words with which Paul Simon opened his 1966 classic, recorded with Art Garfunkel, 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy).

    When I was young, my dad and I would play a game in which we would see how long, with meaning and understanding, we could converse using only Paul Simon lyrics, and my dad often spoke these two lines to me as guidance, advice, correction, hope, and love.

    As a child, my thoughts on those lines differed so from my thoughts now. Then, I most often responded with lines from the song I Know What I Know from Paul Simon's 1986 Graceland album:

    “I know what I know
    I'll sing what I said
    We come and we go
    That's a thing that I keep
    In the back of my head”

    Now my response to the 59th Street Bridge Song urging to slow down is more like the words of Paul’s (Simon) more recent song Quiet from the 2000 You're the One album:

    I am heading for a time of quiet
    When my restlessness is past
    And I can lie down on my blanket
    And release my fists at last

    I am heading for a time of solitude
    Of peace without illusions
    When the perfect circle
    Marries all beginnings and conclusions”

    As I was sitting today in the AA open share meeting that I attend these days, the words of a friend sharing on why AA has worked for him led me back to these Paul Simon lyrics and also to the ways that I have admitted my own powerlessness time and again and continually turn my life and will over to God. I've gone from a devotion and proclaiming of my own knowing and toward peace without illusions. And the path for me is the one where I slow down, where I listen to what others have to say. I lean not on my own understanding, one might say. (Proverbs 3:5)

    As I move slower intentionally, I see beautiful connections all around. In a class at church, we are studying through Acts and today read Acts 5. I can think of no word better to describe the beginning of the ministry of The Apostles than slow. And they were intentional about their ministry. All the negative happenings in their time toward them – the persecution, e.g. – yet they persisted – slowly and with the ears of their hearts always to God.

    This sentiment of slowing down, of resting, ties to one of my heart verses and then back to a gift for which I am ever thankful – Paul Simon and his music. My continued, sustained recovery has come to rely on these:

    “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28 NIV)

    When you're weary, feeling small 
    When tears are in your eyes, I'll dry them all (all) 
    I'm on your side” (Paul Simon, Simon and Garfunkel, 1970)

    We are safe in the palm of God’s hand, and God gives us opportunities to slow down, so we must take them. I'm on your side, friends, so together let's slow down when called so that we are equipped to work  more effectively in our covenant relationships, as is described in my favorite prayer:

    Friends, our life on Earth is  short, and we have too little time to gladden the hearts of those who travel with us. So, be swift to love and make haste to be kind….and may the blessing of God Almighty, Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer, be with you now and always.”

    Brandon B.


  • 09/04/2019 8:45 PM | Anonymous

    “When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.”- Lao Tzu

    Is my recovery one of scarcity or abundance?

    How I answer that question determines the quality of my recovery journey while revealing what I truly believe about my Higher Power.  In the past, I was guilty of transferring my worldview of scarcity into my program. This happened with the best intentions. Early on I was deeply aware of the absence of my drug of choice. I defined my program by the number of days I stayed sober and what I was not allowed to do. Honestly, that was all I needed or could handle at the time.

    Now, years later, I sense the breath and width sobriety brings. I sense that recovery is inherently spiritual, and intimately connected to my Higher Power. That connection allows access to an unlimited supply of love, acceptance, grace, creativity and beauty. My focus has gone from just surviving to really living. I have realized that my life consists of mind, body, and spirit. I feel it when one is out of balance. When all three are being serviced, my whole world opens up! I am alive and healthy!

    I define abundant recovery by the words "can" and “shall.” While I am always aware of my limitations, my character defects, and bottom-lines, they never serve as an excuse to adopt a victim stance or become bitter. My focus is on becoming the best and most honest version of me possible, not my restrictions or limitations in sobriety. It also means that my Higher Power has been working, is working, and will be working to empower my recovery!

    Surely it is this view about which Paul writes in 2nd Corinthians 1:20?

    “Whatever God has promised gets stamped with the Yes of Jesus. In him, this is what we preach and pray, the great Amen, God’s Yes and our Yes together, gloriously evident. God affirms us, making us a sure thing in Christ, putting his Yes within us. By his Spirit he has stamped us with his eternal pledge—a sure beginning of what he is destined to complete.”*

    Working my program has taught me that scarcity is no way to live. In doing so I deny the very power of my creator to do what he promised - say yes to restoring me to life, reestablishing my sanity and blessing me more than I can imagine. It requires both surrendering to that yes and cooperating with the power it releases. When it occurs it opens up new dimensions of integrity, joy, confidence and humility. Theologically this is called sanctification.

    I just call it abundant recovery.

    Shane M.
    Conway, AR

    * Scripture taken from The Message Bible, The Message (MSG), Copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson


  • 08/28/2019 9:23 PM | Anonymous

    This is Part 3 of a series centered on fears that one really can’t stop, even with years working the program. There is some sadness in this. We did a lot of work with the help of our Higher Power to get all that sobriety under our belt; worked through some really bad problems -- deaths of friends, forced early retirement, and the divorce of our daughter after many years and 3 lovely children. The program was there when you needed it.

    But for some reason, after a goodly amount of sobriety, you sense an uneasiness. You seem nervous and anxious around old beloved friends who are enjoying an actively social time. One way to look at this is to remember the stories you heard at meetings of folks who suffered through a relapse after time in the Program. What did they say about awakening to the realization they are in the middle of a relapse and are going to have to “come back” and deal with those feelings?

    I was a relapser after a period of sobriety and I can tell you it took a good deal of guts to come back and fess up to my old home group. I felt ashamed, depressed. I felt I had become this year’s Alcoholics Anonymous Relapser poster child. But what happened? Most didn’t say anything, or if they did it was -- “happened to me,” “welcome back,” “Let’s figure this out” (spoken by your sponsor).  I hate to say it, but a relapse seems to be so common that it seems to be a part of the medical and psychological traits of this disease we are a victim of.

    Of course, not everyone falls victim to the relapse. They are fortunate. But what happened to others really isn’t relevant to your situation, is it. All that is relevant is the steps they took to safely arrive back into the graces of the program through their new start at working the program. Spending a lot of time trying to figure out how it happened is often counter-productive. The question is: “how do you react to your slip and what is it you will do about it”.

    Usually, the cause of a relapse is a declining interest in working the program because of “time served,” a reduction of enthusiasm for the Big Book, the 12/ 12, leads, working with others, and most importantly a disengagement from “going to meetings” for that is the place we receive a daily intake of communications from the program. Surely we remember that very often a discussion topic or a lead will appear to come from you and your daily experiences. You’re not alone, nor are you unique when it comes to dealing with this addiction. “Many of us all been there, and here’s what we did about it.”

    So, if you’ve “fallen off the wagon” (in that old expression), get to a meeting, work with a newcomer, present a lead and topics for discussion, increase your number and places of meetings, seek outside counsel if necessary. But whatever you do, remember -- our addiction is cunning, baffling and powerful. We need a solid quality infusion of the AA program every day, whether it’s a meeting, meditation with the Big Book, working with someone or, whatever will work to keep the fires of commitment to the ways of the Program burning in your life.

    When you first came in, you learned that it’s not the end of the world. But it is if you don’t do something about your disease. Just remember that help is available and all you have to do is ask. The grace of the Program will reach out and help. It won’t condemn you, or mock you for failing. It will always supply helpful grace just as our Higher Power does for us every day. But ... never ... ever give up!”

    Jim A. Covington, Kentucky

  • 08/21/2019 7:43 PM | Anonymous

    I posted a commentary in July about the fear expressed by someone who relapsed after many years of being able to successfully work the program. Newly returned to our rooms, she expressed a fear of “not being able to stop” … she like the taste of alcohol, the ambience of happy party goers, the options of all the new micro-breweries. How can she successfully confront her genuine fears?

    Can’t tell if these ideas will work but it is what I practiced to avoid temptation:

    • Don’t go into bars amid all that fun, gaiety, good spirits. Think of the smells, the source for which you probably wish you didn’t know. The boiled eggs in a large jar ageing in that cloudy green water. The noise. The quizzical looks of the habitual patrons as you enter. Find a place more conducive to your Program that has excellent burgers. The food at the bar wasn’t that good, really.
    • Avoid liquor stores.  Don’t browse to kill time. Have a reason to be there.  If you must, “Get in and get out, asap.” Leave if it’s too much. Take your spouse, or your legal-aged kids.
    • Avoid wine & cheese receptions. Certainly, don’t succumb to “this is a great wine, try it.” If you must, get in, make your round to shake hands and kiss the air, and get out.
    • There’s always a new gimmick -- now its bourbon browsing  -- don’t do it.
    • Stopping to gas up? You’re there to get gas and buy a lottery ticket. You’re not there to browse in the Beer Cave and its seductive collection of all those micro-breweries with the cute names.
    • Don’t linger over those sexy beer and liquor advertisements, or spend time watching YouTube’s collection of hilarious football beer commercials or that Christmas ad for Bud of the sleigh ride merrily jingling through that snowy Vermont terrain to that tune, “I’ll be home for Christmas ...”
    • Watch your trips to the “ol fishing hole” and that spot you got that deer. Both are excellent covers for a rip-roaring drunk. Isn’t that the real reason you went and sat in a shaking seat attached to a tree 30 feet off the ground, or sat in a canoe in the rain with a darkening sky, having had no luck fishing, with the temperature’s  dropping as fast as the setting of the sun?
    • Sherry sauces -- be careful. Yes, the alcohol may be gone but the wonderful appetizing smell is intended to enhance the main course. And, the smell of sherry or the wonderful smells of the  liquor sauces may be a prelude to entry on a path you shouldn’t be walking.
    • Weddings are classic places to tie one on -- free booze, everyone in hilarious moods, youngsters dancing to a throbbing beat. Remedy?  Easy -- arrive late, leave early. Your excuse: “We have a long-standing commitment to attend a neighborhood open house.”

    Everyone has their own tricks to “get in and get out.” When in doubt, ask your sponsor or someone what to do in the particular situation. It’s important. Everyone faces this in today’s often intense social calendar.

    Next time ......... a short reminder of the consequences of a relapse.........

    Jim A./Covington, Kentucky

  • 08/15/2019 7:25 PM | Anonymous

    “A man’s true greatness lies in the consciousness of an honest purpose in life, founded on a just estimate of himself and everything else, on frequent self-examinations, and a steady obedience to the rule which he knows to be right, without troubling himself about what others may think or say, or whether they do or do not that which he thinks and says and does.” MARCUS AURELIUS

    I get frustrated with my computer. Occasionally I sit down, begin to write or pay bills, only to find it slow or unresponsive. When this happens, I resort to rebooting the thing and starting over. It seems the act of just restarting solves many of the bugs that cause the machine to slow down and not function as it was intended.

    In recovery, we call this an inventory. 

    The practice of inventory (or self-examination) is essential to sustainable recovery. It is often a “sobering” experience when we look at how our addictive behaviors have impacted ourselves and others. Having a regular, standing appointment to press our restart button will help break through any thinking errors which may be present and ground us in reality.

    Here are three things to consider when you hit reboot.

    Self-Examination begins with external behaviors. This implies we have clear bottom lines. We are more likely to achieve our goals in recovery if we write them down and compare them with our behavior. If not drinking is a bottom line, then asking the question, “Did I drink today?” will be a powerful way to reset any flirtation we may be having with leaving reality. I call this Level One Recovery, but it is only the beginning. 

    Self-Examination includes both liabilities and assets. Miserable is the recoveree who only dwells on his or her character liabilities. A balanced, spiritual program of recovery must include a sense of gratitude for what we have to offer to the universe! A commitment to honesty should include the ability to not apologize for being a faithful partner, a good employee, or a strong leader. Inventories help prevent these positive traits from turning negative.

    Self-Examination is most effective when it includes things that are not easily seen. Like an iceberg, our motives, emotions, inappropriate pride, and self-will are only seen when we look beyond our behaviors. We should ask ourselves about these icebergs regularly and adjust course when our radar exposes the hidden dangers below the water's surface.

    I am often asked what inventory tool is best. I always respond, “The one you use.” Just as our bodies lapse into atrophy, so does our recovery when it is absent of self-examination. Inventories, self-assessments, and other resources are great as long as we use them! The point is to develop the muscle memory of being present in our mind, emotions, and thoughts and apply that experience to our recovery.

    -Shane Montgomery

  • 08/08/2019 5:37 PM | Anonymous

    “I am grateful to be a recovering alcoholic” can sound preposterous, ironic, self-righteous, if not self-serving. Yet many cursed with chronic illnesses discover that their afflictions reveal profound insights, deliver unexpected opportunities, and bestow unimaginable peace. 

    Why so? When disease or calamity strike, we are thrown off course. Devastated and powerless, we may sink, rebound or reset. Once in recovery via the steps, clinical therapies, spiritual quests, and (not to be dismissed) personal resolve, we wrestle with the weight of our woes (sink), our desire to restore our lost selves (rebound), or divine higher meanings for our lives (reset). The process is erratic, taxing and inspired; it ends only with our last breath. 

    Recovery resides in the spirit, yet we live in the din of a crowded, fraught world. Our society, technology, culture and economy pack howling hurricane winds – all of us grasp frantically for footing, squint for our bearings.  As my alcoholism peaked, my grip failed and the tempests destroyed me.

    • I am grateful to have lost valued totems and prized assets.
    • I am grateful to have lost esteemed rank.
    • I am grateful to have lost grand aspirations.
    • I am grateful to have lost cherished loves.
    • I am grateful to have lost hope.

    These damages silenced my life, stripped me of self-assurance, shattered my false self.  I treasure the quiet. When I strive to manage the noise within and around me, the quiet arrives, and in the quiet comes grace. With grace comes patience, then wisdom, followed by a spirit of generosity that impels action, igniting the virtuous cycle of recovery. 

    I cannot be grateful for my recovery without first being grateful for the devastation that stifled me. Thank you, Lord, for loving me to my last reserve.

    Martin


  • 08/01/2019 10:12 PM | Anonymous

    At a recent meeting, a new person brought this to the assembled group for discussion. Perhaps most of us have felt this way during our early days in the Program. Didn’t seem so unusual. But the more we discussed it, the more ambiguous our fears seemed. Perhaps it was the particular situation of this person. She had been sober for 23 years and for some reason had returned to her old ways and had relapsed and stayed out a couple of years. At first, we felt it was the normal feelings of a person coming off her return. It seemed to be a deep-felt truth for her. She just couldn’t stop - a considerable period in the program, yet, “out she goes.” Perhaps her statement reflected a deep-seated fear of a lack of self-worth. Who knows.

    Of course, we aren’t aware of all the details of the nature of her sobriety, or what prompted her to “go out. Maybe she encountered a really deep hole in the road, or maybe she didn’t stay aware of the nature of our disease and wasn’t going to meetings with as much enthusiasm she previously had. Maybe she found it was just too difficult to appear to be the only one in her circle of friends with this “addiction problem” or someone might have called her attention to a “new and really good drink… try just one.” Her guard might have been down.

    I think people who do not suffer from an addiction to alcohol don’t appreciate the depths of our obsessive desire for these substances. We just plain old “like the taste and the buzz.”

    For us, alcohol just simply tastes good, it emits powerful pleasant smells, a happy crowd around you, all experiencing these new brands, a powerful relaxing agent from life’s challenges, selecting just the right one from those new small breweries, we’re even attracted by the creative shapes of the bottles. And yet, if we are paying attention at all, we know the familiar path our once pleasant habit will take.

    But let’s not pretend that we will be able to stop on our own, even if we sense trouble ahead. We may know and remember that troubles will be encountered if we continue our habit. Maybe we’re too proud to seek that assistance.

    We seem to be driving a car as fast as we can toward the edge of a cliff testing how close we can come to that edge and be able to stop before disaster. For us, that edge is that perilous drop which may destroy us and all our relationships.

    So, how do we forget that good vodka, the aroma of a freshly prepared martini, that special bouquet of a newly opened bottle of wine?

    Next time: some ideas to avoid going over that edge ... to be continued               

    JRA/Covington, Kentucky

  • 07/24/2019 8:05 PM | Anonymous

    I was encouraged to give the lead at my home group.  It is a rite of passage, I was told, a part of the Twelfth Step.  I said I would think about it.

    I am a lousy speaker.  Sometimes I forget to breathe and in the middle of a sentence  I have to gulp for air or turn blue.  Sometimes saliva runs down the corners of my mouth like the spittle on an old man.  No.  No way.

    But it happened anyway.

    My lead had to be perfect—one that rocks the rafters and leaves the listeners awestruck.  I would outline my lead, write it down, transfer it to index cards, memorize and practice, and know when to throw in a little humor to lighten my deep thoughts.  I built imagined hurdles to jump over that I couldn’t jump even if I were bourbon-reinforced.

    I was embarrassed by my story.  It was dull.  In the first Steps of recovery, as  I took personal and moral inventory and made amends, even I was bored.  I was just a drunk who drank too much and did not care.  I knew that drinking was a slow death, but I was in no hurry.

    I didn’t start drinking at the age of ten, was never beaten or molested, never jailed, never stole a police car and drove 110 miles

    an hour on the wrong side of the expressway, never got naked on Main Street or kissed the pastor’s wife or peed in someone’s aquarium, and never had locks changed by wife or parents.  These

    were the kinds of leads I heard, and they were fun and exciting.  (Well, at least I’m not that bad.) I had never done anything under the influence no listener had not heard before.  Somebody’s boring and I think it’s me.

    One evening the guest lead speaker couldn’t make the meeting.  The chair looked around the room, asking if there was anyone who had never given a lead.  No matter how small I shrank in my chair and stared at the ceiling, I couldn’t hide.

    Okay.  Since my Higher Power got me to A.A., certainly he wouldn’t let me down now.  He didn’t,

    I stumbled, I rambled, I hemmed and hawed.  I said, “Oh, I forgot to tell the part about . . ..” and wiped the spit from my mouth.

    Then God came through.  I wasn’t giving a speech to a crowd.  I was talking to my friends in my living room.   They were listening to me!  They were interested in me and they cared.  I was so excited at being helpful, knowing that if only one person walked away a little closer to sobriety or staying sober, I was a success. I forgot to be frightened and was just myself.

    At the end there was applause.  An old-timer came up to me and said, “I’ve never heard a  lead given just that way.”

    I took it as a compliment.

    -Ron B

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