by Christine R
“More than most folks, alcoholics are tortured by loneliness … There was always that mysterious barrier we could neither surmount nor understand” (Twelve Steps & Twelve Traditions, Step Five). How did our authors know we were coming along some 86 years later? Paul B., who lived with the Lakota Indian nation, came to understand through their teachings that loneliness is particular to humankind. When I tell you, “I’m lonely,” you know what I’m talking about. Likewise, when you say, “I’m lonely,” I know what you are talking about. There’s no need to quantify, qualify or clarify our feelings of loneliness.
Lakota elders told Paul the cure for loneliness is found through the human touch. They went on to tell how, through the human touch, we can find Great Spirit / higher power. Great Spirit comes through connection with one another. As alcoholism means disconnection, recovery is connection. And through our connections we find a source and strength greater than ourselves.
The cure for loneliness is found through the human touch
Our meetings, on the phone, on Zoom, or in person, provide that connection, that “touch” for one another. Since the pandemic, we seldom hold hands and chant the way we once did. Nonetheless, we still touch one another as we give voice to our loneliness with our shares and ease our lonesomeness with our commitments to bring us to the meetings.
On the afternoon my mother died, I went to a meeting. At the Reno Triangle Club, I found myself taking in a meeting. Not drinking. But oh, so sick at heart! So lonely! Wouldn’t you know? The young woman sitting next to me said her father died only 3 days previously. Instantly, we had connection. No, who set that up, do you suppose?
Next came a cold January afternoon at the San Rafael Alano Club and I’m sharing my grief around my mother’s death. Wouldn’t you know? Sitting next to me is a grief recovery specialist and a long-time member of our fellowship, Caroline. After the meeting, Caroline informs me she happens to be a grief recovery specialist and she can help me. Who set that up?
Not only did she support me through my grief recovery, she also insisted I find a newcomer. Even through the depths of my grief, I agreed. Within 24 hours, up comes a smiling newcomer, asking for my sponsorship. Who set that up?
Together we worked Step 1. She with her powerless situation over alcohol; I with my powerless situation over death. Together we found Hope in Step 2 and the sense of sanity as described in that Step. The 12 Steps are for the lonely to find companionship, connection, and Great Spirit. A very Great Spirit indeed. 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.