Tuesday, August 10, 2010




During my earliest memory--about age 5-8--Grown-up Peeps would ask me questions like, "What do you want to be when you grow up, young man?" Oh how I hated that condescending-sounded question! I mean, they didn't give a rat's ass about "what I wanted to be", right? RIGHT! So I began to make up things they wanted to hear, like "I want to be a farmer" (like my father) or, "I want to play violin in the Symphony!"

The old joke here is;
Kid: "I want to grow up and be a musician".
Response: "Well, son you can't do both!"

DEFINITELY I do not recall saying--or thinking--"I want to grow up and be a drunk and sleep under a bridge, and eat out of McDonald's dumpsters, and puke a lot, and die all alone of sclerosis while laying frozen in a snowbank!" 

Sometimes I would say what I REALLY wanted to be my career...psychologist or psychiatrist. Even at that early age, I felt in myself a special gift for "helping" people sort things out in their lives. Not MY life, understand...please! But I wished to "direct" the lives of others...hmmmmmm? Some bad vibes there?...

So, I played the violin--in symphony orchestras, in cabarets, on street corners, on boats, on airplanes (twice), in String Trios and Quartets, in recording studios, on the beaches of SW Florida, in churches, in Men's Toilet Rooms, for weddings, for funerals, for Christmas midnight masses...

Many years have swept by in hindsighted warp-speed. Today I find myself--not unusual at all in recovery programs like Alcoholics Anonymous--with several new Peeps to sponsor...which means three men asked me to be their sponsor, AND I became willing to let God use me to help them stay sober. 

It is a full life, allowing my time to be taken up by the needs of others. It is satisfying, fulfilling, rewarding.

The reason I am uniquely qualified to be of help, to peeps in real deep-shit trouble is because I have been where they are...I had completely clothed myself in utter chaos, even long since my last drink. Several times! 

Staying sober (not drinking alcohol) did not, nor does not guarantee a happy, joyous, free life. Staying sober is simply the beginning. For me it was a prerequisite. Becoming honest, open-minded and WILLING was then necessary. Next came surrender, action, complete change--prayer to some form of Higher Power (my choice)--as requisites.

And THAT is what I guide Peeps through, this 'simple' maze of twelve steps, to somewhat stressless peace, serenity, calmness of spirit, and a sober, happy and satisfyingly productive life. 

The reason--again--how I am qualified for this new (volunteer) job, is that I myself did everything WRONG! And learned the hard way. Many Peeps have forgiven and forgotten...one or two have not. God will sort that all out in time.

One of my personal needs is spiritual help to grant me patience, tolerance and calm understanding to allow other Peeps the RIGHT TO BE WRONG! I heard those words at my second AA meeting, more than 36 years ago.

And so, in a way, these three peeps I met this week, have entrusted their lives to...who, ME? OMG! Already I feel sorry for them who have asked me to be their sponsor, their guide through the program of AA. But I shall not back away from this responsibility, because it keeps ME sober, you know?

In fact, that is more than half of the whole idea--grin!



jinksy said...

How right you are - helping others through any situation is always better done when we've experienced the same thing ourselves, for only then can true understanding be realised. Good luck with helping ypur latest three!

A Daft Scots Lass said...

Being a sponsor is a lot of responsibility but like you say it gives you purpose and helps you stay sober - not just for your sake but for them too - because they need you.

My mum is a recovering alcoholic (18 years now) and dad is still battling. I can relate but only from seeing it through my eyes - the one having to take care of them when they were so wasted they couldn't stand.

I watched my mum battle with binge drinking for years...well thats a whole other story..

Well done! The more you talk about it - the better.

joanny said...


Living with "intent" having a purpose is important it takes us from being self involved to having order and meaning in our lives.

It doesn't have to be 'big' or 'grand' just being presence for others in the moment-- whether it is petting or helping an animal or human and letting them know they are not alone, someone cares, is all that is asked of us.

Happy for you -- I do not know you, but your words are heartfelt and caring -- you will no doubt with your sincere vibration make a difference in their lives over time.

RNSANE said...

In my 21 years as a sexual assault nurse examiner, I saw many people who ended up being raped when they were drunk - one lady, about 40, who I saw several times and of whom I grew quite fond. She was educated, used to be a school teacher but lost her job because of her drinking and ended up homeless and on the streets. She was a character - once I was walking in downtown SF when I heard someone yelling, "Hey, hey you, my rape nurse!" It was this
woman who ran up and hugged me
and told me she'd gotten into AA,
had made amends with her 20-year-old daughter and had turned her
life around. She hadn't had a
drunk in nearly a year. She praised her sponsor. Thank you, Steve, all of your kind for remembering what it was ( and still
is ) like and for continuing to help others.

dAAve said...

In order to keep it, .............

margg. said...

i think this post is wonderful, i really do.

the right to be wrong.

Syd said...

Glad that you are giving to others what was so freely given to you. It is an awesome thing.

izzy said...

Truly a gift to be passed on. I love your phrase of " AND I became willing
to let God use me to help them stay sober" Great reminder.I have been irritable and discontent lately- feeling my alignment w/ God -maybe- not progressing at the warp speed " I "
would like...Sometimes I get off on tangents: like reading books on other spiritual disciplines. Then I have to
'bring myself up sharply' and return to basics of our program. Am I passing the message ? am I active ? I do worry over the sponsee I have now. But if I apply your reminder-( and answer yes) I can rest a little easier! Thanks.

drybottomgirl said...

I have no doubt you would be an awesome sponsor! You enthusiasm for this program is exhilarating. My sponsor is a tough woman with a heart of gold, and just having her in my corner makes me fearless. People are amazed when I tell them "alcohol is just the sympton, it's really a journey into understanding and finding yourself". My life is far from perfect, a million problems still exist, but I have an inner peace that keeps the chaos at bay, and I find I smile and laugh so much more. Thank you for being a big part of my recovery! Even though we are miles away, you help me all the time.....

Claudia said...

Steve i think you will do an excellent job with helping these people.
What i feel in your posts and comments is that you have a big heart for other people and you are able to connect easily and (in my case) you've always found the right words - so i guess the three of them will never regret for a minute to have chosen you...smiles

sheri said...

oh yeah, really good stuff here today!
it is quite the predicament...on one hand we 'know' who we really are, but the other hand desperately needs to reach out and see if anyone will go along for the ride ;) i love that you have a very honest estimation of yourself but you're still willing to do the work it takes to help someone find and keep the sobriety they need. way to go, stevo :)

Carrie Burtt said...

Steve thank you so much for your inspiring and fun post....it is wonderful that you sponsor so many, and I know how important that is! Thank you for sharing with us! :-)

marie said...

Hope your journey with these new ones is all it is supposed to be. Sometimes, I think God inspired Step 12 not only because we are able to help those who no one else can, but because we still need to witness a little chaos to help us feel alive. Newcomers definitely provide that view of chaos for me, which helps me keep it at a minimum in my own life (most days).

Anonymous said...

what comes around.. goes around.. great that you are giving of your experience and patience :) already lucky peeps methinks xx

DJ said...

You're wonderful, kid.

Scott said...

my AA experience has been quite similar... being chemical free is absolutely a pre-requisite for any kind of peaceful, truly sober life!

Calli said...

Steve~ You are a wonderful person to your peeps. You have lived this and are meant to help others in need. It is exactly as it is meant to be...I especially like what you wrote of getting sober and that was a prerequisite to happiness, etc.
That is incredibly true is it not?

We do create out happiness in life!

Have a lovely week, MR!
much love~

Carol said...

It's weird how we have to pass through several lives during our mortal life.

Lyn said...

You are very brave, extremely honest to share your life with us..We are all fragmented in one way or another..if we just learn to be kind and helpful to others, we win!

Heather's Mom said...

You have so much wisdom - (and experience!) to share. The three are very fortunate to have you. And I love how you acknowledge your willingness to let God use you. You WILL make and impact on these three - that will be positive and lasting, just b/c you're YOU.
God bless.

Elizabeth Mahlou said...

It generally happens that when we help others helping ourselves is a byproduct. Good luck with the mentoring.

Anonymous said...

Thank God for AA, Stevie ~Hugs~

Em said...

not drinking is just a prerequisite...I really like that Steveroni! thanks :)

Superfluous Brunette said...

The best teachers are the ones who have been through it and felt it.

I have learned a lot about the 'behaviours' of recovering alcoholics from my last relationship. I had naively thought that if someone was now happily and thankfully sober with no issues of alcohol anymore, that they were issue free. And as you say, sobriety was the prerequisite.

And, allowing another to be wrong really resonated with me.
You are a teacher to more than just three people :)