By: Sherry W.
This tradition has many spiritual principles associated with it, and I always feel both “awed” and “humbled” when I read or hear about this tradition.
My very first 12 step meeting that I attended on April 26th, 1993, I was scared to walk through the door. I was desperate and filled with shame, guilt, resentments and still in denial. I walked through the doors and all kinds of people came up and gave me hugs. They told me they were glad I was there. They made me feel welcome. I didn’t know any of these people, but they all knew me. They were practicing empathy.
Next one by one they began practicing courage, honesty, and humility, by sharing their experience, strength, and hope with me, the new comer, the still suffering addict. I didn’t say a word during that meeting, but after the meeting I got more hugs, and they all said, “keep coming back.” I didn’t feel judged. I felt accepted and loved.
After a few years later of keep coming back, a sponsee of mine told me how she could not stand this one lady who had several years clean. We talked about how none of us can do this alone. We need each other, and we never know who that other will be at any given time, so we can’t afford to burn bridges. This woman may be the one who carries the message she needs to hear, or she may be the one that carries the message this woman needs to hear. I suggested that my sponsee pray for this woman, and give her a hug and tell her she is glad to see her at every meeting they were both in.
My sponsee followed that suggestion, and about a month later, my sponsee got to a meeting late one day, and this woman sitting on the curb in front of the meeting crying. No one had shown up to open the doors. My sponsee and this woman sat on the curb and had a meeting. My sponsee was able to carry the message to the addict that still suffers.
The addict who still suffers doesn’t have to be the still using addict, the new comer, or even someone coming back from a relapse. It can be someone with years of clean time that needs the love, empathy and the experience, strength and hope of another addict or the group, after all WE NEED EACH OTHER! In loving Service, Sherry W.