Monday, May 4, 2009

Times square or my home group...

One of the many things I love about Times Square is that it allows me - even encourages me - to be an observer. Once you sort of get past the vendors hassling you for their tours, their tickets or their services (they didn't even seem to see me after a while), you can be alone amongst thousands of folks who are in the process of "being there".

For me, this has been both the good news and the problem of recovery.  One of my favorite places to isolate is in the middle of a crowd.  I prefer to lurk at the back of the room and watch what everyone else is doing.  On a good day, that affords me to see the pain of a newcomer and offer a friendly hand or a cup of coffee.  On a day when I'm not so well, it makes me feel alone and afraid in my own home group where dozens of people would do anything short of drink to help me.

While I would love to be a person about service at all times (I believe my life depends on it), my character defects and old ideas run deep. At any given moment, I am 2 thoughts from despair, self pity, and depression.

Still, it feels really good to observe; to offer a smile when someones eyes meet mine; to make an effort to be out of the way of traffic; and to be genuinely kind to strangers.

I have several things I've learned from this past week (so far) that I think I am ready to share:
  • I am not completely healed of alcoholism yet (though I had no strong desire to drink in NYC!!!)
  • the program of AA works for me - wherever I happen to be
  • the organization of AA, as we know it, may cease to exist in my lifetime
  • if the organization of AA does cease, it will be because AA members and groups never took the responsibility Bill and Bob offered us in out 12 Concepts and 12 Traditions
  • as long as God has a purpose for anything, it will continue to exist - against impossible odds, it will still survive (this includes the organization of AA)
  • as Bill suggested 50 years ago, it works better if "Special Meetings" don't call themselves AA meetings
  • AA members should make up their minds about our primary purpose and either live in accordance with it or create a program that meets their needs
  • I am one person on a very large planet populated with a lot of persons - sicker than some, with something to offer to others
  • there is beauty in all of creation - some of man's most creative efforts deserve similar respect and regard as the awe I feel in the mountains and nature
  • very little that I regard as "new" is truly new
  • there is a staggering amount of material wealth in the world and I will probably never again have much of it
  • talent and special gifts should be applauded and supported in all people
  • there is still nothing so beautiful as a new baby boy or girl
  • some people love me, some dispise me, very few even know or care that I exist
  • God is bigger than all of his creation
  • the world, as we knew it yesterday, does not exist any more and will never be again...
...seems endless but it's probably time to move on to something else...

I love you all...


Steve E. said...

Ed, that is quite an interesting list and you have "learned" a lot in the past few weeks.

We used to say the "learning" in AA is not done through observation, nor teaching, nor memorizing. Real learning can come only through experience. In order to learn the steps, there is but one path--DO them. In the working, comes the knowledge. If ya don't believe me...well, ya don't have to, right?

Scott W said...

I feel that one of the things that I still have to guard against is that I used to be set in my way about what I considered the old-time A.A. I have to tell myself, "Other things are progressing and A.A. must too." We old timers who get scattered and separated and then witness the construction of services to get in more people and to make this thing function, we think that A.A. has changed, but the root of it hasn't. We are older in A.A., and we're older in years. It's only natural that we don't have the capacity to change, but we ought not to criticize those who have. ~page 272-273, 3rd edition, Alcoholics Anonymous

Mary Christine said...

I agree that we will see the demise of AA. No one even seems to know what it is anymore.

Syd said...

I hope that AA won't become something else. It has worked the way that it was envisioned for so long. But so has the planet and look what a mess we've made of it.