Working With OthersPractical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics. It works when other activities fail. This is our twelfth suggestion: Carry this message to other alcoholics! You can help when no one else can. You can secure their confidence when other fail. Remember they are very ill. Life will take on new meaning. To watch people recover, to see them help others, to watch loneliness vanish, to see a fellowship grow up about you, to have a host of friends — this is an experience you must not miss. We know you will not want to miss it. Frequent contact with newcomers and with each other is the bright spot of our lives. Perhaps you are not acquainted with any drinkers who want to recover. You can easily find some by asking a few doctors, ministers, priests or hospitals. They will be only too glad to assist you. Don’t start out as an evangelist or reformer. Unfortunately a lot of prejudice exists. You will be handicapped if you arouse it. Ministers and doctors are competent and you can learn much from them if you wish, but it happens that because of your own drinking experience you can be uniquely useful to other alcoholics. So cooperate; never criticize. To be helpful is our only aim.
i haven’t written about my raison d’etre for awhile. it’s not easy to be objective about something so personal. and working with others is not simple. really, there is probably not much to say that hasn’t been said. what i have realized in the few years i have doing this is that i learn as i go. that holding back is just as important as pushing forward. that listening holds more power than yakking. and that just being there is the most valuable gift to give.
all the missteps, all the wrong turns, all the dark hours, all the heartache and horror, all the self-deprecation, and all the failed attempts that i have experienced on my journey as well as the shared time with others leads me to an evolving place of the present. part of what i am privileged to witness is definitely the sprouting of fellowship around me. part of what am privy to is the way in which the world opens up to envelop my this intention- this intention of giving back. the synchronicity that prevails in tandem with re purposing my life has been an extraordinary experience for me. i am indeed a testament to the highs and lows that one life traverses.
however, the highlight of working with others are individual transformations that are sometimes seen. not always the same at all, they are as different as the characters they come through. sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly is a truism, but doesn’t come close to the diversity encountered. and although as varied as the number of species of plants on this planet, the singular expression of self-appraisal, self-empowerment, and self-forgiveness that accompanies recovery is a quiet masterpiece. and to see it is is a chance to see a one-time event with the best seat in the house.
i can’t imagine how my life would look without this turn it has taken this last decade. i am so very humbled by the pop-up-book quality that my life now has- turn a page and wow there’s an entire city. and i am thankful for the grace afforded me in having purpose. when i am working with others i am working on myself. i am others and others are me.