Birthday Gifts


“The strength of Alcoholics Anonymous lies in the desire of each member and of each group around the world to share with other alcoholics their suffering and the steps taken to gain, and maintain, recovery. By keeping a conscious contact with my Higher Power, I make sure that I always nurture my desire to help other alcoholics, thus insuring the continuity of the wonderful fraternity of Alcoholics Anonymous.” – 12&12 p.151

This concept, which also applies to AlAnon and all of our 12 step programs, is at its essence so sweet and pure.

We’ve suffered. We discovered a solution. We found a Higher Power. If we stay closely connected to that power, we will instinctually desire to share the solution with others who have, and often are still, suffering. And here’s the best part:

When we are connected and helping others, we are less likely to suffer ourselves. And if we do find ourselves suffering, the simplest way out is to reconnect and be of service. Here’s a quick example.

This morning I was cranky. I’ve been disconnected, on a softball trip with my wife and daughter. Trying to be of service but feel the edginess creeping in. This morning I almost lost it. So I came to Starbucks and started doing my rituals (reading, spiritual blog/text, journaling, etc). All the while knowing I have very little time, a game will be starting soon.

Then I noticed a woman in line. A man after her decided to create his own line. She got confused and left the line to stand behind him. I said “I think you were in the right line”. She said, ” it’s ok, I’m trying to go with the flow, it’s my birthday.” I wished her a Happy Birthday, and went back to my rituals.

In reading about service I decided to get up and just after she ordered I cut in and told the Barista that I would like to buy her drink.

This small act lifted me up a bit. She said I made her day. I felt good. She felt good. The Barista thought it was nice and wished her a Happy Birthday too. I came back to my rituals and starting writing this blog.

Here’s the end result: I’m not so upset at my wife or the situation. I can breath a little easier. I like the idea of just being helpful and loving on this trip again, where a half hour ago I was resentful. I had to take some action, then become aware of the service opportunity that presented itself, and ultimately step up to perform a random act of kindness — but the reward reinforces how well working the program works for me.

I’m grateful to be alive, sober and in the solution today. Now I’ve gotta rush off to softball and hope my daughter hits another one over the fence, like she did yesterday, for my birthday. ILML :-) – James

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