I had my 5th step (Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs) accepted by my sponsor on a Sunday afternoon, that evening I received a call from a newcomer explaining that they had relapsed. This gave me quite a scare seeing that I was a newcomer myself. That night I prayed for the knowledge and strength to overcome greater losses that are sure to come in the future. Not being able to sleep over this news of my friends relapse, I began to read "Bills Story" again. When I read about the man who committed suicide in Bill's house I would swear that sentence was not in the story any of the other times I had read it. Knowing that Bill had found a way to cope with a tragedy like this made my belief in this program that much stronger. Upon waking up Monday morning I headed out to my front porch, as I always do, with a cup of coffee for some meditation time. Still filled with worry for my own sobriety, I asked myself was I really willing to go to any length? I have been to 90 meetings in 40 days, I was reading my Big Book, working the steps and calling my sponsor. What was missing? Yes, I was praying but I had not been willing to get on my knees until that morning. With a little coaxing I got down on my knees to pray only for my Gods will and the strength to carry it out. When I got up I thought "that wasn't too hard" but it also did not feel much different then praying with a coffee in one hand and a smoke in the other.
I could not wait to get to my 8:30 am meeting to bounce my feelings of fear over my friends' relapse off the old timers in my home group. That morning I heard stories of tragic loss and how they were all able to cope through the strength of the program, the people in it and their Higher Power. Feeling much better about the foundation I was laying for my own program, I went to another meeting that day with the thought of sharing my feelings again. This was a Big Book study meeting with a story from the Forth Edition that began on page 382 about a man who was a real Alcoholic and how he found the program but once sober faced the greatest losses of his life. He lost his company, his alcoholic wife left him for another taking all his possessions, and finally his 16 year old son was tragically killed. Yet through all of this, he remained sober, guided by his Higher Power. After hearing all of this there was no need for me to speak at this meeting... My worries had been answered.
At my age I don't have to set an alarm as long as I am willing to wake up when the sun hit my bedroom windows. Tuesday the morning sunlight hit the outside of my eyelids the same as it had all the days before, but this time I had an overwhelming feeling of regret. I am 42 years old, getting close to 50 and had wasted so many years filled with anger, fear and desperation. I was then washed over with an uplifting joy for that I did not have to live out the rest of my life that way, instead I could live out my days joyous, free and serene. I opened my eyes and to my amazement it was pitch black, rolling over to look at my alarm clock which read only 4:45 am. I thought of getting up to find and early meeting but instead laid in bed surrounded by this new found wonderful feeling of hope for my future.
I have heard stories like this in the past and my bullshiat meter would go off the scale as I am certain someone who is reading this now is dealing with their own meter. I am telling this story for one reason and one reason alone. My first meeting of AA was over 20 years ago and nothing like this had ever happened to me. I am not claiming a "burning bush" experience. What happened to me felt very real and has changed my outlook on life. I can only hope that others have had, or someday may have, a chance to experience the feelings I had that morning.