THOROUGHLY FOLLOWED OUR PATH
Not IF it will happen, but WHEN; and that is a question, also a fact of life...when will I next boil over, spill out, and burn whatever or whoever I touch? The occurrence is rare these days, but it happens, right?--you know who you are! I go off the deep end, and lose sight of everything I've learned these many years in Alcoholics Anonymous. God always seems to find someone nearby, to set me back on track. Because I am like a train, which after a good start, is difficult to stop, like, dead in its tracks.
At my first AA meeting I heard the words "who has thoroughly followed our path." And somehow I knew this would not, could not, be me! I vaguely knew what they were talking about--something which had rules by which I might be bound to live. I did not hear much else, except they did invite me back (wonder of wonders?). They said, "Don't drink, and come back next week." So I went back the following week--and the next week, and the one after that. I made 13 meetings in 90 days. The only 90-in-90 I knew of was years and years of daily drinking.
Thoroughly follow our path, just what did that mean? I got into a nice, comfortable, open-air discussion group. It was much more suited to my level of superior intelligence than those smoke-filled 'beginner' meetings, one of which I had reluctantly attended. I figured the non-smokers HAD to be smarter than the 'regular' drunks.
One week, the chairperson, Jim P., (who had been sober 25 years and became my sponsor) suggested that the group do the Twelve Steps, one each week. I felt awed that they would do this just for me...for I never dreamed they made a practice of doing the steps, once they had finished with them.
Ya see, I had it figured, that by slipping (bad word!) past the 'Beginners' and into the 'grown-ups', I'd slip through without having to do the steps. WRONG! As it turned out, I did one step each week, with the whole group of about 12 as my 'sponsor(s). In two months I had completed the course, and was on my way to Alcoholism Recovery Stardom! All this is in my log book.
I do remember immediately after having completed Step 5, it happened to me just as described in our Big Book on page 75: I withheld nothing and was delighted (Phew!), and I could look the world in the eye. Fear fell away, I felt that peace, which comes from God being near. I had a definite spiritual experience of a sort. MY DRINK PROBLEM DISAPPEARED! I felt for the first time a 'part of', rather than 'apart from' you all. I walked with a light step, on that cloud we all know so well.
Well, the next four weeks (next four steps) were a complete surprise, because I thought I was finished with this stuff. Nope.
As for steps 10 and11, I continue to learn, and have to continually remind myself that these valuable tools are here for my use, for the taking, for FREE.
Step 12 I identified with as soon as I saw the word "practice" there. I knew what "practice" meant...it meant from now on, always and forever, just how I had to work on the violin, every day, every day, forever. No vacation ever. It (violin AND 12 Steps) became my way of life. And I go to meetings regularly. Since retirement, I make usually several meetings a day, there are so many in our little village--well, 45 years ago it WAS a village! (Actually, when I arrived at the AA door, in 1974, there were about six meetings a week. Now there are nearly 200 meetings each week, and more being started almost every week.)
I guess the point is, along with "became willing to grow along spiritual lines", I early on "surrendered" my will to my fellows, later to my God--I did not drink, and I did not die. And I thoroughly "followed our path" as they said for me to do. In gratitude...
I love you all for being here for me, as I am here for you,