Monday, December 1, 2008


Gifts freely given...and freely received


Alcoholics Anonymous has been for me--these second 17 years--like one forever Santa Clause. The gifts just keep pouring onto a pile, I use them, and then I give them away. And then more gifts arrive for me to use and enjoy, and again, give away. And the beat goes on...

When we were very young (before my first pint of wine!) my mother would have us gather and pack up our toys. We piled them into the car and took all the "good-conditioned" ones to a poor family downtown. Then, Santa would come and give us whole new bags full of stuff.

Well, AA is quite the same to me. I give, I get (but I do NOT give JUST to get!). Giving is fun, as is "getting". Which brings me to a -grin- sober thought. Alcoholics Anonymous is always giving stuff: Twelve Steps, Traditions, Peace, Love, Serenity, yes, even Happiness and, of course, Friends, New relationships with family, Confidence, and finally the best gift, a Friendship with a Higher Power. For me, God--that IS His name--right? I can talk to Him, it's just like talking to a buddy.

Or I can content myself by just BEing in His Presence, with not a single thought in my head to mar our momentary Union. Like I might sit on a park bench with a loved one, not a word passing between us...just love!

However, as well and often as these gifts are offered, they are not really gifts unless I accept them. Although I did not know it at the time...God offered to me AA and the Twelve Steps--which is a nice gift--but WAIT! It is not a gift until I take it (and use it?). If I give to you a book, but you do not reach out and grab it with your hand, there is no gift. The old saying: "It takes two to Tango".

Shakespeare, in Merchant of Venice, has his character say, in the "Quality of Mercy" speech "A gift is twice blest--in him that gives and him that takes." I love that line, for it explains to me why so many of us don't "make it" here in Alcoholics Anonymous. We did not accept the offered gift. A gift cannot by it's very nature, cannot be "blest" only once. It is not God's fault, or AA's fault.

Yet we say things like "AA didn't work for me", as if AA is a hired hand on the farm. Well, I'm here to tell whoever cares to read it: "AA DID work for me", because we worked together--key words "we" and "together". So my last drink was the night before my first AA meeting, and that was 34 years ago, March 18, 1974.

Of all the gifts I've received from this program, the only one I really OWN is that date, my sobriety date. Everything else is borrowed, like at the library. I take it out, and I bring it back, for someone else to use. I believe all life is such.

That's enuff out of me today.


Shadow said...

i think this is a beautiful sentiment, absolutely beautiful!

big Jenn said...

Your are a gift to us Steve. jeNN-girl

dAAve said...

Gifts. Yes.
You've been sober since the day after my 30th belly-button birthday. (just so's you'll know)

steveroni said...

...And I have been picturing you as an "old guy"! Thanks for "getting to know you" thing...born on St Patick's Day, you l u c k y fellow.

Gabriella Moonlight said...

What an amazing way to put all of this in perspective. Thank you so much Steve, you are such a gift to me and the blogosphere!


♥Shann♥ said...

Good Morning I can feel your gratitude this morning, I think I am on to it too ☺

Syd said...

That is a great attitude. It is a gift that is freely given.

vicariousrising said...

I really love this post. You're right about a gift needing to be accepted and put into use (and appreciated!) for it to do us good. It's a wonderful way to look at partnering with our higher power to keep well in recovery.

Thank you for writing this post. It really gave me a great perspective.

Findon said...

Great post Steve and so nice to have you blogging again. I like the Merchant of Venice quote. Your length of sobriety shows in your posts and I thank you for that.