Dear sober alcoholic, I cannot tell you how keeping in touch will make all the difference in your sober life. And believe me, you’re talking to someone who knows.
One of my WORST traits when I got here (and frankly, if we’re being honest, for years after I arrived) was my complete unwillingness/inability to keep in touch (call you back..or just call in the first place.)
There were a lot of reasons. Some of them were better than others. I had a new baby, I was newly married. I was newly sober (again). I was nuts. I had just made a major move halfway across the country. I didn’t know you. I wasn’t sure I liked you. I wasn’t sure I was staying (in Texas…or married…or in some moments, sober, so what was the point?) What would I say anyway? You get it right? But let me reiterate–WORK THE STEPS OR DIE.
I heard that in a meeting today. Very good, and I like it. Get’s right to the point. It is the WHY of why we do this thing. Essentially, we’re not quite ready to die. Thus, the spiritual path becomes an option. So what does that have to do with the phone and keeping in touch?
We have to share this thing with someone (although I’m pretty sure..and the oldtimers can correct me here if I’m wrong…that the BB doesn’t say anything about a sponsor in the first 164 pages. But yes, you probably still need one, unless you’re Chuck C., which you aren’t, so just get a sponsor please.) We cannot do it alone, and the together part is the best part anyway. There’s nowhere that feels quite like an AA (or NA) meeting to me. These are my people. This is my hometown. The first real roots I ever had were in Alcoholics Anonymous, and they didn’t come easy. It took women telling me that it hurt them when I didn’t call back. It took people telling me they wanted to know me better but I made it very difficult. It took one old lady calling me the ‘ice princess’ and wishing on me that I might melt in AA. Jesus. That’s a lot to absorb when you’re new.
I was mostly afraid. And what I have learned over many years is that the more I call you back the easier it gets. This practice might take several years to get really good at. Then you will find yourself sort of automatically picking up the phone to call someone first. You will be the one to say, hey, I was just thinking of you–BECAUSE YOU WERE. And you know what that means, right? That you weren’t (in that nanosecond) thinking of yourself. And that will feel crazy weird…and then it will kind of make you smile.
Because the not calling, not keeping in touch, not letting yourself be a part of it…it’s really about not feeling good enough inside. It’s about that enormous alcoholic ego coupled with a deep loss of self-esteem. When you get a little self-esteem (it’s easier than it sounds…just start doing esteemable things) what you will realize is what it means to be human, to be a part of, and to be (if even for just a moment) enough.