"A memory is something I HAVE--not something I've LOST"
February 7, 2008
Bruce Green died this week...and we just returned from his burial service. In the next two weeks a memorial service will be held for Bruce at the Twenty-Four Hour Club. On that occasion I intend to read this short story, one of my many memories of this wonderful man:
I love Bruce Green. And with a love so pure, Bruce Green Twelve-Stepped me two times. The first time, in February 1974, I did not know him. He and another guy came to my house. I have no recollection whatever of that first visit, my family tells me it did take place.
One month later I arrived at the door of Alcoholics Anonymous, thoroughly beaten, evidently ready to "give up". With God helping me, I never took a drink of alcohol since that time. Bruce was--only by chance, I did not know him!--chairperson at my first Alcoholics Anonymous beginner’s meeting, and I DO remember that occasion. I was completely unimpressed (cough....cough!). That was March 19, 1974.
Nearly 34 sober years after that first meeting (just two days after Christmas 2007) I walked into the crowded "cookie meeting", and took a seat at the big round table next to Bruce. He turned to me and looked me in the eye. Then, wearing that huge grin of his, he said “You're new here, aren't you?”
Well, I played along with what I thought was a game. He told me he would see that I got a Big Book and some phone numbers before I left the room, then began to explain a few things about Alcoholics Anonymous to me. Back and forth, I played his little game, we’ve known each other for such a long time.
After the meeting, when he went to fetch me a Big Book, I realized he no longer recognized ME! When he Twelve-Stepped me the first time, 34 years ago, I did not know HIM. When he Twelve-Stepped me 34 sober years later, my friend did not know ME.
I guess one moral of my story is: Bruce taught that we do not have to know someone...to give them the toolkit of recovery, to help them, to love them!
(If I’m crying, it is because I recognize again that UNLIMITED AWESOME POWER which is ours for the taking. That same power kept Bruce working his AA program even after his mind had failed...he was still out there working it, offering to help who he thought was a “newcomer”
Bruce went home that night with who I suppose was his caregiver. You'll meet him one day, right inside heaven's gate, and--with that huge smile, he'll probably say to you, "You're new here, aren't you?"