Focus Story – Back at it Again

12 July 2022

When I first started out in the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, I immersed myself in AA, spending every opportunity with AA people, at AA meetings and attending every AA function I could get my hands on. I celebrated my 20th birthday in AA by inviting those I knew from meetings to come to a restaurant with me to celebrate, not for my benefit but so that I could spend as much time with AA as possible replacing old habits and friends I couldn’t be around for my safety’s sake. I invited all who could come and like 40 people ended up coming, it was an extraordinary experience. I became the speaker seeker for my group, attended at least 2-3 meetings a day, as often as I could go I would. I attended the pre-meeting setup, business meetings, meeting itself and the tear down hangout and parking lot after-meeting. I had a lot of phone numbers and used them, spending those in-between periods either on the phone or having a coffee or exercising or even shopping with AA people. I traveled a lot back then to AA Round-ups, Conferences and Assemblies, I even got involved with Website and PI/CPC committees pretty early on in my recovery. I worked the steps, did a Joe and Charlie study, Step-Do Group and worked with others. Volunteered at Hamilton Detox bringing AA meetings in for them and sponsored others. For those first few years I literally immersed myself into AA life.

Then College happened, going to meetings were important, but not as important. I got lost in the imbalance of new things AA life had given me the choice to do and began to make AA less a priority. I got a few part-time jobs while in school full time, I got really busy with my church, really busy with the things I wanted to do, but AA became less and less a priority until eventually it wasn’t a priority at all. I stopped going to meetings, stopped calling my sponsor, I never took a drink, but I wasn’t living free from the burdens of alcoholism. My solution had been lost and I really struggled in ‘sobriety’ to stay alive. I recall looking back on my really hard times, seeking help from my sponsor a few times because even while sober I considered death, I had hit a sober bottom. His wisdom was always the same, “Are you going to meetings? Are you working on the steps? Maybe that is your problem?” And it was, I knew it, every fiber of my being knew what I needed to do, I just didn’t make it a priority.

With a near death experience by my own hand, I reached out one more time to my sponsor, shared where I was at and he invited me to an Area 86 meeting. I was poor and hungry, and he offered to pay for my sandwich. I jumped at it and thank God I did. There I saw many familiar faces of people I grew up in AA with, some with less time in the program as me, but giants now in the program. Ok yes this is an upside-down triangle hierarchy, but there is something grand about those people who serve AA tirelessly for the still suffering alcoholic, they have a twinkle in their eye that I was envious of, and I wanted what they had. I spent the day there, and the entire time I was there I thought about what I needed to do when I got home to ensure I would get what they had. When I got back to my district, I did some research and tracked down the number for my DCM, asking her if I could be on the Website Committee in my district. There was a catch, if I wanted on the committee, I had to be the chair… Oh no, really, maybe I shouldn’t be. Her question, how long have I been sober? At that time, almost 10 years, good enough. And so with a quick vote from the district I was the Website Chair.

Here’s the thing about being a Chair of a committee for my district, I didn’t feel right holding a position, especially at district while I wasn’t attending meetings or working the steps. It just wasn’t right, so I had to decide, join a group and get active, and get my step work in order – or step down from this newly appointed position. I joined a group, got active and began to work my steps again, keeping close connection with my God and sponsor. The years since then have not always been easy, lots of ups and downs, marriage, Covid-19 pandemic, new job and life changes. I don’t mean to undercut God, the steps, my sponsor or the AA program, but Service in AA saved my life this time around. It got me to where I needed to be in order to be open to doing what had to be done. I aspired to be the DCM’s and service committee members I had seen at that Area meeting, and now I am proudly an Alt-DCM for my district. I wanted what they had and it inspired me to get back to it again. Today I work hard for my district, not to boast about myself, I am so blessed to have a district that works right through the pandemic to ensure the still suffering alcoholic has a solution. I see so many great changes and when I think of our district I am so proud of what it is, where it has come from and where it is going. I am so thankful for this opportunity to serve and look forward to what is to come. Service, Unity and Recovery.

David N.

Alt-DCM D2 A86 Panel 72