This weekend, I had the incredible honor of being asked to speak at SERCYPAA 2023 and it was an amazing experience. The excitement, dedication, and commitment in that hotel all centered around recovery was quite honestly – overwhelming at times.
To have an opportunity to spend the weekend with over 500 young (or “young at heart”) people in A.A. who were there for one reason and one reason only, to carry a clear and adequate message of hope to the still suffering alcoholic was beautiful. There were many great workshops, panels, and other speakers who “brought it” big time. I’ve been sober for over 35 years and I still walked away hearing some truly amazing things that I will use to enhance my own recovery (as well to enhance the message I carry to those I get the honor of sharing with).
Some of the things I heard that I wanted to share…
From the panels/workshops:
– Corey shared, “Through inventory, I found out that my problems aren’t happening TO me – they are happening FROM me.” What a great reminder that my problems are of my own making.
– Jake shared: “Prior to coming to AA, all I did was look for my next fight. Since coming into AA, all I do now is look for my next surrender.” What a beautiful way to share on the power of Step 3.
– Layla shared: “I finally woke up and realized that I was just working a “routine” with God instead of having a “relationship” with God.” Her honesty about how she was truly not trusting in a Power greater than herself was moving.
From some of the speakers:
Friday night speaker Sarah S. shared: “We have to remember that this disease kills” and she also shared that, “Sick and suffering is not just about being new.” Sarah and I had the opportunity to have brunch together with the rest of the speakers and she shared with me that we don’t hear enough people with a lot of time talk about what it feels like to be sick and suffering IN the rooms of A.A. We both agreed that there are a lot of long timers in our Fellowship who are dying, sitting in meetings of A.A. because they have lost the ability to treat their untreated alcoholism. What a great reminder!
Sunday morning speaker Darren P. shared:
“Only an alcoholic will burn their life to the ground…come running to a 12 Step program, only to resist the 12 Steps.”
And that LAST statement from Darren was my biggest take away from the whole weekend. When he said that, I almost melted in my chair from identification and it’s what I wanted to take a moment to share on in this blog post.
From years 18-22 in my recovery, I became incredibly self-sufficient, self-centered, slothful, and miserable. I wasn’t going to meetings (much), I wasn’t in the book (much), I wasn’t calling my sponsor (much), I wasn’t sponsoring anybody (at all), I wasn’t doing service (at all)…. all I was doing was just existing. The only thing I did right during that period of time was I didn’t pick up and I did have a fairly regular prayer life (even though looking back, the prayers were all selfish). I was pretty much just existing. I know now there is a difference between surviving and thriving and for me, it was the former.
I was burning my life down right before my very eyes and would show up from time to time to the place where the solution (the Steps and a God of my understanding) was the main topic, and I simply resisted it every step of the way (pun intended). I was so obnoxious and obstinate that I believed I was just fine. Even though my life was falling apart, and even though I had almost 20 years of sobriety under my belt, I fell into a place where I simply wasn’t willing to do the work and just like when I was drinking – I suffered the consequences (this time, of my INACTION).
I am grateful that God allowed me to have a spiritual awakening in 2010 while I was sitting in the International A.A. Convention in San Antonio , TX and I was given clear cut direction as to what action I needed to take to get me back on track – and I listened – and I did it. As a result of that experience 13 years ago, today, I am living a life beyond my wildest dreams.
I thank all of the panelists and speakers at SERCYPAA this weekend who helped remind me of some important things, but I am especially grateful to Darren for saying just the right thing at just the right time to help me remember that while alcoholism will certainly kill me – my selfishness and self-centeredness is the thing that will take me down the fastest.
God is so very good – All the time!
In love and service,