The convention was lovely. 450 people, representing 33 countries, and a sobriety adding up to over 2000 years. Really amazing, when you think about it. There were some important revalations this time for me which have, and will, effect me, I hope, for the rest of my life. Last year the knowledge that if I didn’t go to AA I would die, but without me AA would probably continue, was the epiphany. This year it had to do more with service, responsibility, and anonymity.
Our ‘Responsibilty Clause’ states that “When anyone…reaches out for help…”. It says nothing about me making a quick assumption that someone actually needs my help. It’s up to them to ask, and until then, I must respect their path, no matter how confused or wrong I feel they are. Everyone has the right to become lost and perhaps find their own way. When they ask, I’ll try to help.
The same goes for me accepting help from others. If someone offers their assitance, I should take it, and lose the cavalier attitude which seperated me from the world. These new (for me) ideas have certainly lifted a great weight of ‘responsibility’ off of my narrow shoulders and freed me from, yet again, more bondage of self.
In the realm of service, the above principle plays out in the relationship with my sponsee. If the guy can’t ask for help, it’s not up to me to enable his inability by picking up his pieces. I have my own jigsaw puzzle to construct, thank you very much, and should not try to assemble someone else’s.
Anonymity is the foundation of our society and all of our steps and traditions. It insures humility and focuses our work on principles rather than personalities. In one of the groups I attend at home, some of the members are very inquisitive about my personal life in regards to money, past history, and so on. This really bugs me. The lesson I learned this past weekend solved that dilemma right quick. Without going into details (of which I know virtually nothing), there was a well known musician from Texas at the convention. He had been sober for quite some time, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who recognized him. I have his records. I have seen him play live. I have listened to his music for years. You would know his name as well if I told you, but that is none of my business. In the greater, more real, and humble, scheme of things, he was just another drunk trying to stay sober and enjoying the anonymity that the program affords. It is obvious that in the case of a famous person anonymity keeps us all in line. But what about a drunk like me? The same rules apply and the same anonymity keeps me safe from the curiosity and jealousies that may arise from such breaches of privacy. So thanks, Billy, for the lesson in reality, and may your future work be inspired by your Higher Power.
I know that I am not alone in these revelatory experiences, for I was witness to many close at hand and within my own circle of friends throughout the weekend. There was joy, pain, laughter, tears, and fantastic conversations about fear, love, letting go, and working harder at just being ourselves.
When the convention closed I left with a small crew to the nearby island of Hydra, where we had a fantastic meeting in a restaurant overlooking the lovely natural harbor. I have decided to stay here on Hydra forever (just kidding, I think), where there are absolutley no ancient ruins, until Friday (it is currently Tuesday afternoon at 6:50) when I will catch the Hydrofoil back to Athens, immediately board a bus for the ancient site of Delphi, and spend the weekend consulting the Oracle. On Monday I’ll return to Athens, stay the night at the home of an AA friend, and board my plane back to the US early Tuesday morning. At least that’s the plan. We’ll see how it all pans out.