As Love Expresses Itself: Tradition 2

by John W.

The world isn’t OK, but I am

When he spoke, it was with a noticeable Southern twang that made it clear, in Marin, he was not from around these parts. He had a home-spun way about him, born from decades of sobriety. That made it easy to listen when he talked. So it was no surprise for the guy who shared this morning to quote “One Drink Away From A Drunk,” by George L., recently deceased: “The world isn’t OK, but I am.”

As I listened to the line, I could hear George, complete with Lone Star State drawl. I had often been confused when members would spout that “God” spoke to us through our meetings. This certainly was just a bit too Elmer Gantry for me. No, I thought, I may want to get sober, but not around a bunch of losers who think they are speaking for God when they talk.

I went to an unusual meeting instead

Photos from Robert Lukeman and Aron Visuals

That was the stuff that makes grass grow green I was trying to get away from, not embrace if I wanted to stay alive. But I did hear them say a couple of things: “Keep coming back” and “Don’t quit before the miracles.” So I kept coming back. Funny thing, to me at least, not to them I am sure, was that I didn’t drink. As time began to pass, sober, things began to change. Not so much around me, but most
definitely within me. When going through a particularly rough patch, with divorce court and bankruptcy court looming ever larger, I went to an unusual meeting for me. Instead of where I was longing to go, to my bar two blocks from home, within easy walking distance. There I heard a guy share about my experiences and how he got through them without taking a drink.

When I thanked him after that meeting, he said it had happened over 20 years ago. But he felt the urge to mention it that evening. He wasn’t sure why.

Years later I was chairing a business meeting for my home group. I can’t remember the thorny issue that was the focus of our heated discussion, only the lesson I took from it. We had discussed the problem, examined it from all sides and were ready to come to the correct, the only decision, the one which would guide our meeting thereafter.

The miracle is now I know to listen

With an 11-2 vote, the result could not have been more obvious, so I prepared to move to the next agenda item—this was DONE. Not so fast, came the point of order from Jim D. in the corner—that’s not the way we do it in A.A., said he. Having run business meetings for years I assured him we were OK to move on, but he persisted.

We needed to hear from the dissent, to air their point of view again. That’s when the miracle happened, that’s when He began to express Himself in a way I had never expected. Not that the words were eloquent, passionate, or of such unbeatable logic. They were just another’s opinion, those of the two, just words. But we 14 (I had abstained as the tie-breaker) heard those words. In speaking and listening to them something happened. We voted again and it was this time unanimous, in favor of the dissent!

I believe He did express Himself at that meeting in the dissenters’ views. I also find that happening at my meetings more frequently now. Just like when George spoke or that guy I never saw again did. The miracle is now I know to listen for Him, and so many times I hear Him, just like I was told so long ago I would.

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