Today a member of the meeting announced that a woman we knew had died. She has been in and out of the rooms and recently more out than in. This man had helped her move a couple of times, had taken her to detox several times over the past six months. Even though she had the equivalent of maybe ten years of recovery, the most she had at any time was maybe a year usually much less. She drank, lost her home, her car, her teeth, her dignity and yesterday her life. Starvation, alcohol poisoning, health compromised.
What do we take a way from that?
Gratitude. But for the Grace of God. It couldn’t happen to me? Most of us thinking all of those. I look down at my nice handbag and my too busy calendar and try to imagine I am living in a dump and starving and dying for the next drink and I can’t see the steps that would get me there. But they do. They do. Which decision or behavior that I am engaging in today would be the one that opens that magic passageway to that very bad place? Is it the lie I told to a friend? The thing I did that I am ashamed of and not talking about to a sponsor? The upset with the man I love? Each day there are an endless first steps. We can only see them looking backwards. That dollar. That lie. That avoidance. That skipped meeting. That service work I put off temporarily. Is it my thinking? My behavior? My emotions?
I remind myself that it is and has to be behavior first. The thinking and then the emotions will follow. I may not feel like telling the truth or making amends or going to the extra meeting or listening to the sponsee but I won’t know till the end of the game which one was like hitting the secret stone in the wall that opened the passage to relapse.
Yes people die from this disease, but there is something even worse and that is living and wishing you were dead.