by Christine R
At my usual early Monday morning meeting in Mill Valley, the reading is from As Bill Sees It, Page 217. The topic: humility and responsibility. Believing I had nothing to share, I remained quiet, silently checking in from time to time with my higher power, listening to hear if there was anything to share or to say.
The inner voice said, “Talk about the AA Responsibility Statement and what it means to you.” So, I did. Starting with: When anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help, I want the hand of AA to always be there. And for that, I am responsible.
I recalled standing on Esperanza in Tiburon (“Hope Street”) and I had no hope
I told of my experience trying to get sober, when I went to a meeting listed on the meeting schedule that had disbanded. I recalled standing on Esperanza Street (“Hope Street”) in Tiburon and I had no hope. There was no one to talk to. Never have I felt so starkly alone in my life as standing on that hillside, looking out across the San Francisco Bay, wanting to die right there on that hillside. Hopeless, lonely, sick and afraid.
From that experience, I vowed to do my best not to let that happen to any other alcoholic needing the hand of AA to be there. I feel a deep responsibility to keep my hand reaching out to newcomers. One of the ways to accomplish this is answering the phones for Marin Teleservice. Mine is the quiet voice to direct you to your next meeting; to share where the meetings are and at what times. If you need a call back, I make sure someone calls you right back.
Sometimes the newer person can help the newcomer even better than the old timer
I mentioned my sponsor, who taught me everyone is important in AA. Each one of us has something to give, something to share. A person with one week can help the person struggling to get 24 hours. Sometimes the newer person can help the newcomer even better than the old timer, because the new person remembers all too vividly the horrors of the recent weeks and days.
When I finished, suddenly, a lady’s hand shot up to share. She said, “At the risk of cross-talk, you were the person who answered the phone when I first called AA four years ago. I remember your voice! You were the one who guided me to this 7:00 AM meeting all those years back. You were the one who phoned later to see if I was okay. I am so grateful to you for answering the phone when I needed help the very most.”
A thunderbolt to my heart was this lady’s share. I had no idea. Tears flooded my eyes and are here as of this writing. So often we wonder about our places in this world. “Do I account for anything?” we may inwardly ask. Just that one early morning exchange raised my whole attitude and outlook upon life. One alcoholic talking with another, sharing for one another, answering the phones for one another — our hands, hearts, and minds in service. I learned yet again this morning, hands in service don’t have time to pick up a drink.