Too Sick to Share
Many is the AA meeting I’ve sat in when feeling self-piteous, self-centred and so forth. Perhaps I had a resentment against a friend, a boss, perhaps another member, my sponsor, or just against life itself!
Frequent thoughts at such times would be: “I’m too unhappy to share tonight” or “I’m sicker than this lot so I won’t share” or “I’m different to all these successful AAs so I’ll keep my mouth shut”.
The irony of these thoughts is that they are often generated by the self-centred egotism that is at the heart of alcoholism of my type. And the solution to alcoholic self-centredness? Well we all know the most powerful solution: “When all else fails, work with another alcoholic always saves the day” (Big Book page something or other).
But wait a minute – I tell myself – right now I’m sitting in a meeting and I haven’t got any alcoholics to work with. Oh, wait a minute (I slap forehead) – I’m surrounded by them! Thus I consider that maybe I should try to get in to share and carry the message to the still-suffering alcoholic.
The problem is – at such times – I feel too spiritually sick to do it. I think: what can I say of use to the newcomer or suffering alkie? All the other people seem to be sharing how great their life is, when mine feels anything but great while I’m sitting there.
It is at this point that I’m usually struck by the memory of doing the 12 Steps and recovering from drinking, andhow hopeless I felt before this happened. Sure, it was all a long time ago. Sure, I’m in danger of taking my sobriety for granted at times. But how many alcoholics get to recover?
I am one of a small percentage who get to recover, or to do the 12 steps successfully. Hundreds of thousands around the world are struggling to find a solution, or to find the surrender and motivation to do the Steps. I know something that saved my life, that has saved the lives others, and that many don’t know about. My words could help, support or inspire another “hopless” and despairing person to take the actions I took.
So I put my hand up. Maybe I get picked, maybe I don’t. (If I don’t, then I’ve got a new resentment to take my mind off the first one.) If I do then I keep it simple. I say what I know right now that’s helpful: I’ve found a solution to a seemingly hopeless condition. I don’t pretend I feel fantastic when I don’t. But here’s the amazing thing – by the end of my short share about recovering all those years ago and staying sober now, guess how I feel?
Fantastic! Or thereabouts…
Plymouth Road to Recovery Group, Nov 2020