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On Belonging to the Recovery Community, the Twelfth Step, and Usefulness

“When the Twelfth Step is seen in its full implication, it is really talking about the kind of love that has no price tag on it.  Twelve & Twelve page 106.  From Daily Reflections, Dec. 9

I have a glaring defect in working “the program” and it is long past time to rectify it. 

Unlike politicians who regurgitate the phrases “in these trying times” and “we’re all in this together” to the point they’re nauseating this last nine months, these are the bonds that have held recovering people together for, literally, decades (as long as I keep coming back and don’t die, I’ll be able to say “for a century” soon enough).

The best thing I have in my life today is something to pass on to the newcomer, or to the still sick and suffering. AA, and working at a recovered life, has given me a freedom, joyousness and peace that was impossible while using (not “difficult”, not “kinda hard” or “near impossible”, I mean im-f***ing-possible).

We had two newcomers at our little in-person meeting last night.* One who just celebrated 30-days and one with just shy of a year. My friend pointed out on giving the woman her 1-month coin that 30-days is harder than 30-years. I don’t disagree. Another long-time friend who happened to be there received his 28-year coin as well. He didn’t disagree, either.

The topic of discussion was the reading above and it really struck a chord with me. I read it three times yesterday. Once in the morning, once mid-day, and again at the meeting. It brought to the forefront the “life and death” nature of our struggle to remain on the right side of the grass.

For being reminded, I am grateful. To be reminded that my main purpose in life, the very reason I was spared from my disease, is to help others recover from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. It is my responsibility to be a shining example that there is hope.

How often have you heard at a meeting, “I don’t know why I was chosen to recover”? I would guess only slightly less than, “This is How It Works from the Fifth Chapter of the Big Book”. I am not so afflicted. I know exactly why I was saved.

It was to pass along my strength and hope, that my experience might benefit another in their quest to join we happy, joyous and free few as we trudge the road of happy destiny. Indeed, it is not to be missed. Finally, and to wrap this post up, the Twelfth Step reads as follows: “Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and practice these principles in all our affairs.” When I arrived at the doorway of my first AA meeting, a broken and disheveled man, those who were working the Twelfth helped me until I learned how to work the Steps in all my affairs. Belonging to the recovered community means simply doing my part to pay that back for others who arrive in the same boat I did.

And for that, I am thankful.

*PS: I have zero f***s to give about whether or not you agree with in-person meetings. Some things are more important than trying to dodge the Wu-flu. This is one. If you disagree, I’m perfectly okay with your choice to stay home.