Giving it away so I can keep it.
It’s what we say about sobriety in the Alcoholics Anonymous program: “You’ve got to give it away to keep it.”
Last month, as I was nearing my one-year anniversary of being sober, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to give away my sobriety. That is, I was able to share my strength, hope and experience with someone who suspected she might be an alcoholic.
In addition to experiencing some drinking-related trouble, T. has an alcoholic parent, and had been following my blog from the start. It wasn’t until recently, though, that she began to ask questions about the AA program, mostly regarding what I got out of it and how difficult (or not) it had been to give up drinking.
I answered her questions as best I could, resisting the urge to say, “Yes, from everything you’ve told me about your drinking habits and the events resulting from your drinking, I’d say you are an alcoholic. Let’s get you to an AA meeting, stat!”
Instead, I just offered up tales of my drinking life, how I came to my decision to get into AA, and my experience with sobriety thus far.
Eventually, T. decided that she wanted what I had.
I brought her to her first AA meeting, which just happened to be one of the two during which I picked up a chip commemorating my first year of sobriety. Needless to say, I was thrilled to be the recipient of this gift — which I was at that very moment giving away.
I’m happy to report that T. has embraced AA wholeheartedly, exploring all the meetings available in our town, reading the Big Book and 12&12 I gave her (as well as some other helpful AA-related literature), even seeking out a sponsor.
Seeing her discover the joy of sobriety and being able to give her some guidance along the way just reinforces my commitment to my own sobriety. To me, that is a beautiful thing — and a gift I’m determined to keep.
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