I well remember the first time I really read the 12 Steps. The mission had given me the responsibility create an alcohol recovery program. I knew that I knew nothing in terms of helping skidrow men achieve sobriety. I also knew the reputation of the AA program.
The International Union of Gospel Missions, the fellowship of rescue mission from all over the country had recommended that missions adopt the 12 steps of AA as the basis of all mission recovery programs.However, there was opposition to adopting the 12 Steps for mission’s programs on the Board of Director’s of the mission.
I thought I better get some 12 Step experience for myself so I made plans to take our skidrow program men to the Alano Club in Glendale, CA. The Alano club in Glendale was in a building totally committed to hosting AA meetings.I gathered up about ten men I thought might be interested in going with me. At the meeting we attended there were 12 large signboards on the sidewalls of the room. The first 6 steps were to my left and the the last 6 steps were to my right.
At that time AA meetings allowed smoking during the meetings.I felt like I was smoking a pack of cigarettes just by sitting in the rooms. Also different from the meetings I attend now in Long Beach there was a lot of what felt to me like foul language. Despite those two things things which upset me I was profoundly and wonderfully entranced by the reality, openness and honesty of the sharing. During the sharing I really paid attention to the 12 Steps for the first time. I thought to myself “This meeting was more like church than church”.
Years later I became an active member of Al-Anon. I have been attending for 21 years now. My 12 Step program is a total life blessings. Tonight I am going to a small meeting in a home. The people there have been close friends for 10 to 20 years. I lost a very close long term friend friend this last week. I think I will talk about my friend’s death tonight. His wife is a very close friend also.
I addition I spent Christmas with my older sister Evelyn. My visit revealed how much my beloved sister has lost mentally. That is a huge loss for me and it also reminds me that I am almost eight and there is all that uncertainty about my future.
If I am around 10 years from now and I am in the same state as Evelyn. someone will give me a ride to the meeting and I will be free to share in my confused way knowing that even though they may not completely understand what I am saying in my very confused way they will listen to me and accept me completely and love me dearly. I can saay the same thing about my family. That is a real insurance policy’