When I came to A.A., I no longer believed in the God of my youth, a personal God who would help me as an individual. After being 5 5 in A.A. quite a while, I tried to take the Twelve Steps to the best of my ability, in the order in which (hey were written. It was a slow and painful path, but I did not give up; I kept on trying.
Step three, I now believe, was the key that opened some door within my being and allowed spirituality to enter, not in a sudden flow, but as a trickle, on occasions just a drop at a time. As I progressed through the Steps, I began to see some change in my thinking and my attitudes toward people. Al (he completion of Step Nine, I now believe, 1 did have a spiritual awakening. I came to the point where, not only could I give love and compassion to my fellowman, but, more important, I could receive love and compassion. Now spiritual experiences, as I understand them, began to happen.
At a recent A.A. state convention, Bill came up and introduced himself and said that he had heard me talk at an area meeting in a small town in Tennessee, more than three years earlier. That was Bill’s first A.A. meeting. After hearing my story, he decided to do something about his drinking problem and became a member of A.A. Bill has not had a drink since that Sunday afternoon when he attended his first meeting. What did I say? I don’t remember. Why was it necessary for me to be 300 miles from my home on a summer Sunday afternoon in order for Bill to get the message of A.A.? I don’t know. . . .
One Saturday morning, I decided to go see Ken. I had known him casually for twenty-live years, and I knew that he had a serious drinking problem; but I hadn’t seen or spoken to him for a number of years. I knocked on his front door and asked him whether he remembered me. He said, “Yes,” and invited me in. I asked him how he was doing, and he said, “Fine.” I asked him how he was getting along with his drinking problem, and he said, “Oh, not too much trouble.”
I told him part of my story. As I stood up to leave, I said, “How about going to a meeting with me tonight?” He said he would, and I told him I would pick him up. But when I returned that evening, Ken had decided not to go. I said, “Okay. I’ll pick you up Monday night at the same time.” Monday night, he was asleep, and his son said he didn’t want to go to the meeting. Tuesday, after work, I called Ken to say that I would stop by and take him to a meeting. When I arrived at his home, he was sitting on the front porch waiting for me. As we were about to enter the meeting room, Ken saw through the doorway a man that he had drunk with for a number of years. This man had been sober for eighteen months. Ken now makes three to four meetings a week, has not had a drink since his first A.A. meeting, and in a short time will get his first-year chip.
Why did I decide that Saturday morning to go to see Ken, who had never called A.A.? I don’t know. Why did Ken refuse to go to the first two meetings and then agree to go to the third, where he would meet his old friend and so have an immediate relationship with a recovering alcoholic? I don’t know. . . .
I don’t attempt to explain with reason and logic why these things happen. When they happen, I just accept them. I feel perhaps that God, as I understand Him, found it necessary for me to suffer the pain and anguish of an addicted alcoholic and to go through the slow and, for me, difficult program of recovery in A.A. in order to be prepared and willing to do His will. I am grateful and thankful that God has given this to me. Perhaps it is because I take the Third Step every morning. My hopes and prayers are that each day I will be able to maintain this conscious contact with God. Kingsport, Tennessee