Friday, October 21, 2005

Recovery Through Giving

...In the first six months of my own sobriety, I worked hard with many alcoholics. Not a one responded. Yet this work kept me sober. It wasn't a question of those alcoholics giving me anything. My stability came out of trying to give, not out of demanding that I receive.

from "As Bill Sees It," pg 275 (orginally published in the Grapevine, January 1958)

I woke up somehow with a sense of what was to come. After my morning meeting, I ran into him again, walking down Santa Monica Blvd. I asked him if he was okay, but his response was unintelligible. His cheeks were grey and pink, like he'd tumbled down a mountain and sandpapered the skin off. I'd never seen anything like it. Grey. As if his entire body was turning to ash. He gave me a look --I don't know quite how to describe it, except to say that he looked lost...

He's managed to get some time together before; doubtless, if he doesn't die, I'll see him someday in a meeting somewhere. Yet as I walked away the feeling was like being kicked in the stomach. After breakfast, I was able to reconcile that if someone were to be the lifeguard to throw him the rope to shore, it was not to be me, not at this time.

I've seen people who went out in bars, on the street, even while I was speaking on panels at the County Jail. ...And back in meetings, starting over.

His path is divinely laid out. I did what I could. It is far more important that I return to detachment than to dwell on his fate. Whether he eventually finds his way back to the program or dies while he's out there, I may never know. I'll probably see him at some time in the future when HP deigns it necessary.

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