By Greg F.
Recently I fell and broke my neck. Retrospection as always is my friend. I’ve spent years cultivating my belief in my version of God. What do you know? God was and is with me through this. Four days later I had surgery. A C4-C7 laminectomy and C4-T2 fusion. I had a close A.A. friend go with me into the pre-op room. Thank God for him.
Could and would if sought
We never have to be alone when in A.A. I prayed, we talked, and he held my hand as I cried. I was afraid. When they rolled me into the O.R., I immediately was in Step Three. The tears stopped, I stopped thinking and just was. My faith seemed automatic. I felt my God’s love, power and was calm. We always say “God is everything or nothing,” and “You can’t have fear and faith at the same time.”
Turns out, both are true. I had not been in a hospital since I was a child, so one of my sponsees was with me pretty much every day for two weeks. He saw me in ways I couldn’t have imagined when I’d been in my first year and in his shoes. He was my rock, strength; he helped ground me to my life which was on hold. He put up with me when I was wacko.
I apologized when I realized it. He didn’t run. He hung in there with me. My sponsor suggested I ask for what I needed (on Facebook). It worked! I asked and my needs were met. That’s right, God works through people. A complete stranger came to visit me a couple times. He cut up my food and fed me.
The kindness of strangers
I couldn’t use my right hand. I needed help, and there he was. Watching him feed me helped me be able to do it the myself the next day. The kindness of strangers? Oh wait, in 12-step groups there are no strangers. We’re all one Fellowship.
I was not stuck in my head. I was OK. Regarding pain meds, someone said, “Your higher power works through your doctors” and “Surrender to the process.” This made it easier. I did not enjoy being on pain meds. It’s true what they say: Faith without works is dead. “Be willing to believe, be willing to be willing.” In return for doing my best to believe, I’ve found a new power and peace flowing in and through me. I’m glad I’ve gone back to church this past year and think it undoubtedly contributed to my faith. I look at this experience as an opportunity to slow down.
He hung in there with me
I was enjoying my life prior to my fall. I just moved too fast. I’ve always done so. I’ve embraced A.A. where I live, and this has been extremely important. Another group of folks just like me who I hadn’t reached out to before. As I heal, I keep attending meetings where I live. I’ll still go into San Francisco—just not exclusively. I love the fellowship and meetings in S.F. They are my peers.
Now I have a new sense of the importance of each moment of my life. I’m here. I’m sober. I’m okay. I’ll slow down. I’ll look forward to the next phase of my life. I know this will be the beginning of something different. Long-term sobriety is emotional sobriety and is so worth it! If you don’t feel yet like you know what emotional sobriety is, hang in there. It will come. It will go.
Change is the nature of being human. To think all of this starts and keeps working by not taking that first drink or drug. Amazing!
Photos by Michael Beckwith + mckenna-phillips