By Anon

I always thought I was actually the responsible one in the equation. I thought that the “other half” of the relationship, whether business or marital, was what needed fixing. Most certainly if you had the kind of “partners” I had, you would drink too, and you would certainly know why I drank. I didn’t drink because of a problem, I drank at a problem.

Despite all of my being responsible, things still fell apart. My drinking more at those things sure did not help. As I finally tried to start climbing out of my bottom, one day at a time, with Twelve Steps in front of me, I heard something that rang so true. A woman shared that she had been fixing her husband with her drinking. She said she realized her method was like trying to get rid of the rat across the room by drinking the poison herself. It did not work!  WOW! Did that ever sound familiar! I thought that the dutiful dad I was, who worked long hours to pay the bills at home, as well as carry the load at the office, was entitled to a wee nip [or 12] after work, to take the edge off a brutal day. I did not realize, until the nature of my wrongs were gently pointed out by my Sponsor, that while I thought I was being responsible for a lot of positive things, which was true, at the same time I was responsible for inflicting a lot of harm upon those I cared about the most.

As the sun set on that Fifth Step I realized my perception of responsibility was terribly distorted by my obsession with alcohol. What began to germinate in me, though I don’t believe I realized it at the time, was a new attitude about what it meant to be responsible, especially when it came to my alcoholism.

As my days started to become years, I was better able to accept the responsibility that I too had to carry the message to the next drunk who might stumble through the door. But I saw there had to be a “door” to stumble through. Somebody had to pay to have a “door” to stumble through and for that too, I was responsible.

I was certain I was responsible while supporting my clients, my business or my family, so the shock was in realizing I now needed to support our meeting, our program and our hand reaching out to the alcoholic who needed help. That was a switch. That was a change of outlook. That was most certainly a change of attitude.

As I witnessed how it worked, I saw that to get something to transmit, where before there had been only a vacuum, I needed to take action. I had to do something to help the “door” be both there and open. Regular meeting attendance seemed pretty straightforward and putting a contribution into the basket passed made sense too. Commitments which I volunteered for helped me finally feel a part of, at home with, our group.  

My Home Group would not falter unless we let it. Our daily task is simple, yet profound:  Be ready to give to others what we have so freely received. I saw that when newcomers showed up, and we were there to offer support, there was a meaning to life which before was missing.  My Sponsor put the sublime into clearer terms when he observed I was feeling this way because I was finally being responsible, not just acting responsible. I was investing myself in something, our AA Program and its life saving potential, rather than just paying bills and reviewing balance sheets. By belonging in and to our AA Program of Recovery, he showed me also how I was actually becoming, in my small way, responsible for it. This return on the investment was one I never expected and now work each day not to lose. 

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