“No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.” AA Promises
I had a conversation last week with a friend I have not seen in some 20 years. We occasionally go back and forth on email. Today she is dealing with some pretty intense Alanon-type issues that we never discussed before. Our phone conversation lasted for nearly 3 hours.
A colleague in her 40s faces decisions on a surgery that will either save or end her life. We have always been friendly, but I also understood that she was a rather private person. We get together socially perhaps every six months for a one or two-hour lunch and I visit her during her somewhat regular hospitalizations. Two weeks ago our lunch lasted for over three hours and our last phone conversation went some 90 minutes. We talked a lot about the pending surgery.
The list goes on . . .
What I appreciate today is that recovery brings some sense of relating, empathy, sharing with others facing a range of life choices. Recovery has less to do with not drinking and more to do with decisions about living. For example, today I find less relevance in how I was totally wasted during the time of my maternal grandmother’s death and funeral some 35 years ago, and more relevance in the ability to grieve that loss and celebrate her memory in my recovery today. That list goes on as well . . .
I don’t know that there is any specific story or event in our experience that will benefit others. Rather, I think the choice to actually live life on life’s terms in recovery is from where the experiential benefit all flows. I think of the people who inspire me today and whose wisdom I seek – my wife, civil rights leader John Lewis, mystic poet Rumi, all the Gods of the Abrahamic traditions, and all of my fellows in recovery, – the inspiration is not from the stories of their past or the strategic decisions they make today. Rather, their aura, essence, and direction of life force seems to be where I draw strength and inspiration.