JM and I were chatting it up over a cup of coffee this morning (status update: I had given up coffee, but then reconsidered, deciding that it was not well thought out!) when he reminded me of a great old AA story about carrying the message.
Scott R., a long time member from Los Angeles and an incredible example of what it means to thrive in sobriety, used to tell this story (he’s now passed away) about being asked to go down to skid row and visit an alcoholic named Sully who lived down there. Off he goes to carry the message and sits with Sully doing what we do when we’re talking to another alcoholic. Long story short, Sully doesn’t get sober.
But 10 years later (10 years!) Scott is speaking at a meeting somewhere and after the meeting a guy comes up to him and says, I want to shake your hand and thank you for saving my life.
Scott looks him over and he says, I’m sorry, but I don’t think I know you, to which the man replies, 10 years ago you visited a guy named Sullly and sat with him in his room and tried to carry the message of Alcoholics Anonymous to him…do you remember that?
Of course, Scott says.
Well I was under the bed that night, and I haven’t had a drink since then.
It’s impossible to know what impact we are having on those around us.