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Life is a daily reprieve. I can make the best of mine, or sit at home on the couch.


As I wrote this, it’s -4°, and that’s not “feels like”.  It feels like -10° (that’s an F too, not a C).

I called my sponsor on the way home from work to see if he was planning on showing up for the meeting tonight, hoping he’d say it was too cold (thus giving me some cover, ahem, to stay home myself).  No such luck, so I hurried home, changed into my cycling gear, belted out 45 hard minutes on the trainer, took a shower and I rolled out.  My hair froze instantly on walking out the front door.

Maybe halfway there I heard a plea on the radio for homeless people in Detroit to get to a warming center.  I thanked God that being a drunk just wasn’t good enough for me and that I heeded the warning to sober up.  When I arrived at the church (our meeting is held in the basement), the parking lot was empty.  I parked and walked up to the door.  I could see it was locked.  I was pretty sure I was heading back home…  I gave the handle a pull just for good measure… and the door opened.  By a fluke, whenever the last person left they must not have pulled the door all the way closed.  I walked in, set up and there I sat, coffee brewing, waiting to see of anyone was crazy enough to show up for their daily dose of recovery.  What strolls through the door but a new kid who walked two miles in that $#!+ to get to a meeting.

And I was there for him, coffee brewed, because my sponsor said, “I’ll be there”.  The meeting went as meetings go.  My sponsor showed up a few minutes before the start and just one other guy strolled in a little after we started.  Everyone else stayed home.

After the meeting I took the new kid out to dinner, a block from his home and we talked program, because that’s how we do.

For me, there are a couple of morals to the story.  First was “show up, you never know when you’ll be needed”.  All too often I get to see just how self-absorbed I still am and it strikes my funny bone.  On the other hand, I still managed to pay attention and do the right thing and be in the right place anyway.  Finally, “make sure you’ve got your key to the church before you walk out the front door”…  Last night was the first time I was the first and only one at the church to get our meeting ready (there are two other meetings, FA and Alanon held there at the same time as well).  Life in recovery is a daily reprieve, contingent upon the maintenance of my program…  Last night I used that reprieve properly.  Even if I did have to be pulled across the line.

One thing is for certain, though:  I slept like a baby last night.


13 Comments

  1. saoirsek says:

    This made me quite emotional, brought me back to basics. Recovery stories are made up of good stuff like this. “You got to give it away to keep it” I’m so glad you were there for the newcomer. I am so grateful for my sobriety right now. Thanks Jim.

  2. tammi1438 says:

    That is the coolest spiritual moment I’ve heard in a long time. Just when I think people don’t care about doing the work to get sober I read this. 👍👍

  3. And who knows the profound effect you have now had on the new kid. You “just turning up” could quite possibly have made a monumental positive change to the rest of his recovering life. Kudos, man!

  4. Manu Stanley says:

    Despite the (-)4F, you kept your word. I’m quite sure it helped the new kid in having a positive outlook to life. Good job! 🙂

  5. Tony says:

    Well done, Jim.

  6. Jeff says:

    Loved this post, thank you Jim. So well-written to convey the need we have for others AND the need they have for us. “Show up” is the key phrase, the rest is not entirely up to us. Awesome!

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