Wednesday, March 31, 2010



What a Wonderful World (.www) is Naples FL!  Of course the location, climate, art galleries, museum, concert hall, symphony, Universities, i.e. Ave Maria, the quiet, warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico...all these make a wonderful world.  Add to those attributes a conservative political attitude.  The result is Naples is considered Utopia by several hundred thousand souls who have moved here since I did, 45 years ago.

But I am writing here about the wonderful world of recovery.  Three treatment centers call Naples home now, the latest one a branch of Hazeldon. Four hospitals with detox units, several homeless shelters and more than a half dozen "half-way" houses also are right here.

This morning as I was leaving my regular 7 AM AA meeting, I found myself counting our blessings. There were nearly 100 Peeps at that Big Book-discussion meeting.  The tone was serious. This IS life-and-death stuff, a fatal disease from which we are recovering, folks!  We are old, young, a few well-to-do, many maybe not...with no interruptions of chanting or other kindergarten behaviors.  Almost everyone has a sponsor, and most sponsor others.  All of us, aside from this daily attendance, go to other meetings at noon or night, or just stay on for the morning 8AM and 9:30 AM, etc.  Many of us are speakers away from our home group,  supporting new groups as they form.

And so I notice that AA is well and very alive here in SW Florida.  Along with me, a couple thousand others are fortunate that the few older groups here have spawned many new groups, and so we count now about 290 meetings each week.
We have a strong Intergroup, and very well-attended monthly District meetings.  For some of us who have been sober here a long time, it is heartening to know what we have, and a challenge to keep alive the Traditions, so to keep what we have.  But it IS happening, growth, solidarity, and continuation of the old-fashioned  AA way of life.

The proof of what I have written above comes from the many visitors who find themselves at most meetings here.  Invariably, I hear them saying out loud at meetings, things like, "Oh! I WISH we had AA like this where I live."  Or, "We cannot WAIT to get back here next year--we come to Naples for the sunshine, yes...but mainly for the "brand" of AA you have here."

Please understand, our AA is not Utopian, as we are certainly far from perfect.  Ha!  But we ARE willing, and try to grow along spiritual lines.  In that group of 100 this morning were three with less than one week of sobriety. God willing, they will be back tomorrow!  In this place they  usually do return!

Sober today.
At PEACE today!

Photo from Deviant Art:  AA_by_InsideMe.jpg


Anonymous said...

Lot to be grateful for with such a terrific network of sobriety!

Manon Doyle said...

You seem to have a terrific support system, Steve!! That's fantastic.... and a lovely spot to be in. I've been to Naples a few times so I know! Lots of Ohio people there.
Glad to see you've been blogging away while I've been basking in the AZ sun. We're all happy you came back.

Nevine said...

That's heartening, Steve. And I hope your three newbies will be back tomorrow, as well. It's a difficult trail to try and travel, but support keeps one's determination up, no? I think so... I know so! From you, Steveroni!!! :-)


Dulce said...

That blessed place of yours seems really the best place not to go over drinking again... especially if YOU are there-- dear peep!

Anonymous said...

I feel bad for the girl in that picture, as I have seen people in that condition too many times.
Thanks for a good post today, Steve, it is good to see new people getting themselves help.


Anonymous said...

Great post. We have a good AA program where I live as well. Although I am a member of Al-Anon, I like to attend AA meetings as well. I am grateful for the fellowhips I have found in AA and Al-Anon.

Carol said...

A healthy daily meeting is priceless & to be cherished, a day at a time.

Anonymous said...

What is even more amazing is the depths of Hell that all of the sober people had to crawl out from to be a part of that A.A. community.

Sounds like a great place to live!

Syd said...

Glad that meetings are alive and well in Florida and that the rehab structure hasn't taken hold as it seems to have elsewhere.

Ces said...

Ooooh! I read all of these and it is past 1 AM in Naples. We used to vacation in Sarasota twice a year when the children were young to go to Siesta key. We drove through Naples once, very nice place, expensive! I hope you are getting your ZZZZZZzzzzzzz!

Shadow said...

you sure are in a good place. always good to remember why.

Kay said...

always nice to have a place to call home and a well developed kinship... just think those people who "wish" there own places were as good have something of value to bring back with them, hopefully able to share with their own groups.

I read your comment this morning about wanting to read every blog out there... man! what a goal!!! haha I find it impossible to keep up with all of them :)

Have a wonderful day!

Kay said...

P.S. I meant their :)

JBR said...

Stevie, appreciate your encouragement. Means a lot.

Margie said...

Naples is truly a beautiful place to live (have been there a few years back) and a wonderful place of recovery!
How you must love living there!

Your gratitide shows!
Gratitude is a blessing!

Have a great day!

Margie :)

LarryG said...

Shalom to you Dear Friend!

Angeles said...

What a Wonderful World!!
The world is beautiful if we take on what gives us anywhere. Humans are made of the same essence and we grow when we share and help.
Thanks for your comments in Spanish, you are great!
Happy Easter!
Felices Pascuas!!

Ces said...

Hello Steve!

Thank you ever so kindly for your comment on my blog. You are much too generous. I hope you are having a peaceful weekend and a chance to play your violin today. I am glad you have guardians, we all need those and I thank mine. It is my honor and a privilege to be able to share anything that which I have been blessed. Take care Steveroni!

Anonymous said...

I'm going to surprise you and PG by showing up one day by surprise. Hide in the back of a meeting and then catch you off guard when they ask for any newcomers or out of town visitors. That would be a blast :)

Bridgette said...

Thanks for your post, and your blog. There are a number of different treatment programs and approaches to support people suffering from substance abuse disorders who decide to get help. I’ve found Silver Hill Hospital's website to be very informative about adult and adolescent residential programs. Blogging about substance abuse is a great way to help yourself and others. Keep up the good work.