Have you ever wondered...

Today is the day 21 years ago that a friend of ours, Margo, who has since passed on, asked me, "Have you ever wondered if you're an alcoholic?" This had to be the most graceful way I've ever heard of someone inviting another person to consider AA. In a moment of blessed honesty, I said yes, I had wondered about that. Margo then shocked me by saying that she was a member of AA, and she told me how to find a meeting in Casper, Wyoming. I went to my first meeting the next night in a garage of someone's home, and I haven't had a drink since.

I've had two sponsors in 21 years of active involvement in AA, one in Casper and now one in Denver. My Casper sponsor showed me the way through the 12 Steps and gave me consistently good guidance. One trick he had was that any time I would call up agitated by something my wife had done or said, he would interrupt me and say, "She's right." I would reply, "How can you say that when I haven't even finished telling you what she did?" "It doesn't matter," he'd say. "She's right." And so was he. My Casper sponsor used to give me his AA coin each February 27th, the one he'd been carrying the previous year, since he sobered up a year before I did. These days he's gone electric and sends me a Hazeldon coin via e-mail. Since I can't carry this one in my pocket, I'm glad to put it on the blog.

Twenty-one years is a long time between cocktails, as a guy in my home group, Happy Trudgers, likes to say. I've never been so grateful for honest words out of my mouth as I am for the answer I gave Margo on February 27, 1985.

A note on anonymity: AA's 11th tradition states that "we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films." We can't be sure what Bill W. and the founders of AA would have thought of blogs, so I asked my current sponsor if I should worry about breaking my anonymity here. "I would worry more about the typos," he replied.

Monday, February 27, 2006

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