Friday, July 25, 2008

desire from within

Life will take on new meaning. To watch people recover, to see them help others, to watch loneliness vanish, to see a fellowship grow up about you, to have a host of friends--this is an experience you must not miss. We know you will not want to miss it. Frequent contact with newcomers and with each other is the bright spot of our lives. (pager 89, Alcoholics Anonymous)
So reads the introduction to Chapter 7 of the big book, "Working with Others". Over the past few weeks I've been given an opportunity to work with another. I had been praying for a sponsee and I've had no idea what I was in for. Alcoholism, up close, is a very ugly disease. To see how it affect another human being, to see how much hurt and suffering it does to the spouse, is a stark lesson for me.

I don't want to speak of the details of the past few weeks, it's not my story, it would feel like gossip. I really want this person to sober up. I want so bad for this person to get that connection with a Power greater than himself. However, it's not about what I want. Life never is.

I brought this person to a meeting last night. He had been drinking. Full of self-pity. After the meeting, on the drive home, I reflected with him our past few weeks together. I told him the time had come for him to be responsible for his own sobriety. That I would help him all I could but I could not get him to sober up. Only he could do the work required. He spoke of wishing that God would do the work for him, just like I used to think, wanting a magic want to whisk away our problems. Isn't that what gods do? I spoke of the steps, of the fellowship, of willing to go to any extreme. I spoke of the deadliness of this disease, of the spiritual solution. I laid it out best I could. One more time. Then I told him the days of the week that I go to meetings, that he could ask for me to pick him up and take him to those meetings. I presented a way for him to get to meetings each day on his own. I asked him to call me every morning, before he drinks. I offered to work the steps with him. Then I let him go.

I write all this because I feel afraid, sick. I feel responsible and want to blame myself that no progress is being made. I needed to see my own words and realize I did the best I could with my limited experience and knowledge. I write this because I still want to be god in other peoples lives and have to understand that I am powerless.

There is a paragraph on pager 95 of the big book that reads:

If he is sincerely interested and wants to see you again, ask him to read this book in the interval. After doing that, he must decide for himself whether he wants to go on. He should not be pushed or prodded by you, his wife, or his friends. If he is to find God, the desire must come from within.
I want to make this about me. The feelings I have are familiar ones. Failure and defeat. I remind myself that all I can offer is my experience and hope. I am not the cure. I do not have to hold myself accountable. I do feel sad but also recognize that this story is not over. The outcome is in God's hands, not mine.

I do have gratitude for the past few weeks. I am still sober. I have seen a lot of myself in this prospect and have been given an opportunity to see how much I've changed. I've saw reflections on my relationship with the addicted child in our family. I see that I still have the opportunity for lots of growth. I am thankful that I am not in charge, not the director.

Thanks for letting me share.


Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

This reminds me of some struggles my husband is having with one of his sponsees. I am going to forward it to him.

Anonymous said...

This is so awesome! you are learning! We are even more powerless over someone else's disease than we are our own. You did the right thing, the ball is in his court, it is up to him to do the footwork now,if he is willing! it is sad to think that someone has not suffered enough. you placed him where he belongs, in Gods hands. Please do not beat yourself over this! grow and learn, trust God. Bless your heart!

Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

Just wanted to come back and share that I sent this to my husband and he said it really helped him come to terms with some things he's been struggling with in relation to one of his sponsees. So, thanks again for sharing.

Mary LA said...

I understand so well what you are saying -- somebody in my homegroup has 'gone out' again amd none of us can reach him. Want to rescue so badly, keep replaying conversations and wondering if I might have said anything discouraging -- but there are limits to human responsibility for one another. It is his choice.

So hard.

Love & hugs

Mary LA