Saturday, October 18, 2008



My daily 6 AM meeting format uses Daily Reflections as the topic. This morning a girl--about age 30--walked into the room, and promptly introduced a topic. I'll call the girl Alma:

Alma befriended Betsy, her partner in a local treatment center for sixty days. In a sixty-day live-in program one gets to know another pretty well, in fact, better than anyone else in the world. That's what I hear, anyway. Alma and her 'best friend' Betsy (fictitious) each have three small children, are married, have the same problem--the disease alcoholism, etc. Each came out (graduated? See what I know?) five days ago. They kept in close touch. They were both determined to 'make it' this time around.

Betsy did not 'make it'. She died in her sleep of an overdose, next to her unknowing husband, who found her unwake-able . Alma has lost a good friend. Possible her best friend. Possible NOT her only friend, because Alma knew what to do, where to go.

Alma went to the hospital, said goodbye to her friend, cried with Betsy's husband and family. Then Alma got out her phone list--that list which so many leave untouched, having never been used or thought about. Alma made use of that list by calling the numbers and talking to AA people. Then Alma drove to the gas station, she knew she'd be needing to drive places. Alma said she had a bad Friday. She attended a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous at 8:30 PM, then turned around and was awake very early, so came on over to the 6 AM meeting, stayed for the 7 and the 8 o'clock also.

As I was leaving the 6 AM room to wait some minutes for the 7 AM to begin, I noticed a woman kneeling with Alma. J is Jewish, and was kneeling to pray with Alma. I turned around, asked permission to join them. As I knelt there also, I heard the most profound communication from J. her words were as healing as a Rabbi might have intoned. And her counsel had a wonderful spiritual effect on our small threesome, kneeling at the couch.

I got up to excuse myself, and Alma reached over, touched my arm, and I cried as our eyes met. I just told this story to Anna, who said, "Well, Blog it!" As I got up to leave, I noticed that two other men had joined us, silently kneeling in the room. How impressive! Alma had just been told how her 'best friend' was REALLY her 'best friend', even in death--she left Alma an inheritance message. "Stay with A.A. Stay with these people. Stay close, stay sober, and trust your Higher Power." One day, Alma will Pass It On--this message of spreading the good news of hope, understanding, and love.

Alma, my wife Anna is "Prayer Girl" on the Internet. And so please believe, you are being remembered often these early days in your sobriety, and in your trials. Love,

Steve E

Tonight I speak again at the 8 PM meeting. I intend to read-- verbatim--this story, at the end of my talk.


indistinct said...

A sad story, full of so much hope. We get to witness the most wondrous moments at meetings. We get to stay sober together.

Thank you for sharing your meeting with us.

Laura said...

Incredibly sad and victorious all at once.

Thank you so much for posting this.

Hugs to you and PG.


Anonymous said...

I have no words. I do have prayers.

Lou said...

I have much respect for those that make it.
And much empathy for those that don't.

Cat said...

How terribly tragic, you wrote this in suhc a touching way my eyes are all teary - I am grateful that Alma was able to choose to take care of herself in her pain. cat

Zanejabbers said...

That was a very spiritual experience.


When Mr. Alkyseltzer-a-roni told me this story, we both had tears in our eyes. They were tears of sadness AND hope and love.

That's what it's about - sharing our pain and our recovery - sharing our experience, strength, and hope.

Thank God for AA.

Anonymous said...

You bring to light another important point, Steve. so many times people "dry out" or detox, and then think they they can pick up where they left off. Just one more drunk, one more high. Many times that one more time,leads to their death. Thank God we have these rooms to go to, and this program. Prayers to Betsy's family.

Gabriella Moonlight said...

I have no words, but I have great tears for this post...thank you so much!!! This was heartbreakingly beautiful and I am so glad that Alma has you all! Has all of us!!!

Steve-a-roni...I miss a -roni you!!!

Hope you're well.


Mary Christine said...

My daughter explained to me why addicts die when they use again after a clean period. So very sad.

Shadow said...

i hope she make it. i really do...

pat said...

I hope Alma will be Ok.