Something That I Was Not Doing

Something That I Was Not Doing

Something That I Was Not Doing

First, before I jump into this post, I need to apologize for the very few posts I have been creating as my last writing was in February (2 months ago).  There are no excuses but there is a reason…. I’m privileged to be a sitting Delegate for one of our 93 Delegate areas in the General Service Conference (GSC) and it would be an understatement to say I’ve been just a little busy since January.  The 73rd GSC starts in 12 days and after I get back from NYC, it’s my hope to get back into the swing of things.  Thank you for your patience and understanding.

With all of that said, I was sitting in a speaker meeting at my home group this past Friday night and our speaker, Sean, from VA joined us to share his story on ZOOM with our members and during his talk, he shared his experience of coming in and out of the Fellowship and not really “getting it” when he first came in.  After he finally came in and “got it,” he reflected back on his previous days in the rooms and why he hadn’t really experienced the beauty of our program.  He said there was…

“Something That I Was Not Doing.”

We’ve all heard it a million times from people who come in and out, in and out…. for those who make it back in – in most cases they finally realize that it’s far less about what they WERE doing while in the rooms and much more about what they WERE NOT doing.  Listening to Sean speak about it, I reflected on my own life and how I could identify with him.  I came in July 1986 and truly, the only thing I did, was put down the bottle.  Yes, I was going to meetings, finally asked someone to sponsor me, and started reading the book and “looking” at the Steps…. but I wasn’t changing in the way I saw the people around me changing.

In the interest of totally honesty and transparency, what I was not doing was being honest with myself, my sponsor, or my home group for I was one of those who came in, put down the bottle, attended meetings, but continued to smoke pot.  I would literally smoke a joint on the way to my 6pm meeting each night.  I kept a bottle of Visine in my car thinking “they’ll never know” if my eyes aren’t red.  What I failed to consider was, pot smells. (lol – that’s a story for another time).  There simply was a level of honesty I wasn’t willing to have.  I wasn’t talking to my sponsor about it, I didn’t tell any of my home group members about it – nothing.  I kept it to myself.  I had failed to understand that the whole point of this is to enlarge my spiritual life.  I just thought that if I put down the bottle, I’d be good.  I also failed to fully understand that I cannot fix my problems with the same thinking that created them.

After some time in the Fellowship, I began to start questioning my recovery because I started asking myself questions like:

  • How did I get here?
  • How is this happening to me?
  • Is this really all recovery is about?
  • Why can’t I get this thing?
  • Why do I feel I’m not good enough?
  • Why can others get it and I can’t?

On November 16, 1987, I finally had an experience that hit me so hard I could no longer be that guy that only attended meetings and who wasn’t fully engulfed in all three legacies of our Fellowship.  So, on the morning of November 17, 1987, I called my sponsor and got honest.  I remember after coming clean with him on the phone, he said to me, “Ok, so what are you going to do about it?” (which I thought was kinda snarky, but hey…)  It was the first quality action I took toward me having the life I have today (35 years later).  I went to my home group that night, got honest with them, started my day count over… and that put into a motion a series of experiences that have brought me to where I am today.

  • What I wasn’t doing was being honest…
  • I wasn’t fully understanding that there’s more to this than just not drinking and going to meetings…
  • I wasn’t doing anything to give back to the Fellowship…
  • I wasn’t trusting God, helping others, or cleaning house…
  • I wasn’t doing the work to experience a personality change (spiritual experience) sufficient to bring about recovery from alcoholism…
  • I wasn’t taking the Steps in the way that has worked for so many of you…

I’m grateful to that speaker last Friday night for reminding me that it’s less about what I AM doing and more about what I AM NOT doing that has given me the most amazing life I have today.  If you’re reading this, I hope you take a moment to stop and look at your life and see if there’s anything you can be doing that you aren’t that can take your program to a whole new level.  Get honest and ask yourself what more can you do to go deeper in your relationship with God; help your group, your district, your area; serve your home group better; show up for those in your life that need you?

Being willing to reflect on how I can be a better A.A. member, a better life member has been the catalyst to all that is good in my life today.  It’s my hope and prayer that you get to experience that too.

In love and service,



  1. Avatar

    Cheryl H.

    Says April 11, 2023 at 7:03 am

    Very well said! I too thought not drinking and going to meetings was enough. It wasn’t, and I couldn’t figure out why I was so miserable. I drank again, and fortunately, I found my way back in. I started listening to the others around me and doing what they did. It changed my life. Now, it’s time to look at that again–not because I want to drink. But because I think it’s a good thing to reflect upon. Thanks for the article!

    • Rick W.

      Rick W.

      Says April 11, 2023 at 8:05 am

      Thanks Cheryl!!! I heard someone say that, “I can’t stay happy today on yesterday’s actions anymore than I can stay drunk today on yesterday’s alcohol.” It’s been my experience that I gotta keep busy today.

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