Friday, September 11, 2009



NOTE: This repost is slightly edited.

A blogger wrote me concerning a problem she was experiencing, and it was so in tune with some of my own life's trials. In remembering my own willingness to humbly ask God to help me in this regard, and to pass along this information (Third Step Prayer) I answered the letter as follows...

TO: Name Deleted

Glad to have a chance to chat with you here, in reference to your comment on my blog this morning, and how you see me as "easily meeting and talking with people". It was not always like that. In fact, AFTER fifteen years sober in Alcoholics Anonymous, I was as yet quite shy, although beginning to mask it with emotional outbursts of anger, joy, sadness, and the like--I mean real outbursts!

Wow, this could turn into a Blong (a long blog --grin!). I was very shy as a child. Alcohol, of course alleviated that to some extent. But, as they say, my problems really only began when I stopped drinking. Before that, drinking SOLVED all my problems. I became reclusive, and isolated like you-know-what--a skeleton in a closet.

"And then one day", as the story goes, I guess (don't know) I got tired of seeing all these people--some of them with only one year sobriety--enjoying life, enjoying themselves and each other, while I, with fifteen years dry in AA, embarrassingly sat somewhere alone. I even wrote a poem "I was alone and lonely. Also I spoke to no one, and the world seemed a strange place....etc." What is that about, in our wonderful Big Book "...Grave emotional and mental disorders."???

So I 'forced' myself to talk to strangers, they seemed to be the easiest, because people who didn't know me had no prejudgment. Little by little, I just started smiling, acting happy, talking to everyone, saying exactly what I think. NOTE: I have recently found this (what I think, that is) to be sometimes NOT too good an idea! Some thoughts are best left between God and me.

I do not hide any more behind words. And now I AM happy! I walk across the street any time we have new neighbors, to meet and greet them. Most are foreigners, Latin, and I can 'feel' their love after a time. I have some stories about that also. Here is one:

An early morning knock at our front door brought me face-to-face with new the owner of the house next door. He is Haitian, could not even speak English. But his sounds and gesturing let me know, that the water company was shutting off the water supply to our house. I got outside in a hurry. As it turned out, the water company staff had 'fingered' the wrong house, even the wrong street.

This all happened because I went over in December as they were moving in, and offered to help by watching them work -grin! In times not long back, I'd have never even glanced at the new neighbors, not known where they were from, what work they do, how many children. I was even then learning to get away from 'me' and into 'others'. How much more beautiful does this make life? I cannot tell you. Each of us must find our own path in these matters. For me, it makes my life indescribably better, more fulfilled, more happy!

Everywhere--yes everywhere--I go on my scooter, I wave to people and smile (big). It amazes, it awes me, how many people now wave back and smile with me. They 'know' me now. I always talk with people at meetings who I do not know--I've become real good at that "first responder" type of encouraging, enthusiastic, meeting with a new person.

And now it has become EASY!!!! And I forget how it used to be (even in sobriety--for years) until you or someone reminds me. So I thank you more than you know--for letting me see what God has done in my life, what I could not do for myself. And NONE of this is my pride, what I'm writing you...just the way it is. I believe that is why God keeps us blogging--to share with one another what marvelous changes He has brought about in our separate lives.

I make mistakes, talk out of turn, say too much, embellish a bit, etc. I get by with stuff because of age, and 'time' sober, and by "grinning". God smiles at me, and I cooperate--daily--which gets me through almost each and every day in a safe, happy way. By the way, nothing could make me happier at this moment, than if something I wrote here is of help to you.

And with that, I've got to get to a 6 AM meeting--it's 5:10 AM here. (I may use this as my blog tonight, but of course, I would delete your name from it.)

I truly LOVE your work, your words, your pictures--as do so many of us. Thank you for all that!

Sincerely, with love for AA and God,
Steve E

And, sober today is what we'll be--right? RIGHT


Madison said...

Your blog really shows that change is possible no matter how big or small and, always, how God makes that possible. Thanks.

Just Be Real said...

Great post Stevie! Blessings!

Shadow said...

i remember you telling me a while ago, how you make a point of talking to strangers, and i've taken that to heart. and you are so right, it opens doors, brings smiles to faces, quite incredible! it still doesn't come naturally, but it's definately easier than it used to be... have a super weekend AT HOME!

big Jenn said...

I have talked to much most of my life. Bet you nevwer could have guessed. jeNN

Ed G. said...

Glad that all worked out for you...

Blessings and aloha...

Cat said...

Steve - This post is so helpful, to me personally you just dont' know. When I began Al Anon my biggest hardship was meeting people, talking to them and being comfortable doing it. Now I can do that, but it took lots of practice and it took one day at a time.

Cindy said...


Dulce said...

Keep grinning dear Steve. So happy youa re back sound and safe with all that experience you've lived in a frotnight...
Peace and love from me to you

Gin said...

Being a shy kid myself I can soooo relate to this.

Syd said...

I like to smile and help out others. It is part of my nature though to not make myself the center of it all. I like the entire random act of kindness concept.

wolfie185 said...

Thanks Steve, I suffer with this also. I do reach out my hand to new people and smile at strangers but I lack the ability to just show up at the coffee shop and make small talk with people I don't know very well, if there is a conversation on recovery I will join in or maybe something else I have an interest in but I am still uncomfortable just hanging around. This is something I am very aware of, last night I drove by the coffee shop and didn't see anyone I know very well so I just kept driving and headed home. The good thing is I am aware of this and it doesn't get me down, it is just who I am and the longer I am in Lincoln AA the more people I will get to know so the coffee shop won't be all strangers. Also you give me hope that one day my shyness will subside, I may never be like Twain or yourself a great conversationalist but ideal talk may become easier. Thanks for sharing once again, I needed your re-enforcement of another thing that may come to pass if I do the footwork.

John DeFlumeri Jr said...

Steve, you write good stuff, I guess getting up so early makes your mind sharp! Have a great weekend. It is good to meet the neighbors.

John DeFlumeri Jr

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

The good news of the program melding with life was that I always felt comfortable "working" in a public area where my job was customer service... now my "job" is to be of maximum service to God... He's my employer which makes all of my interactions service to others and that means I've got experience I can use to do my job well... no need to be shy when I'm employed to serve.

I still do get shy though...sometimes I forget who my boss is :oP :)

Good thing I have all of you to remind me ...

Cheri said...

Thank you for teaching me what a "blong" is! I think that's the only kind I write! =)

I too am grateful for AA. My mom recovered from alcoholism while my still-drinking granddad lived in our home, so she and I attended Al-Anon together!

My son has been through Teen Challenge, to recover from drug addiction.

And your post is a great illustration of the scripture Proverbs 18:24 - A man who has friends must himself be friendly.

God is amazing!


Sammy Landry said...

Love your blog steve..
thanks so much for the support..
I have so much respect and gratitude for your journey..makes mine a little easier..:)
blythe and sammy