By Cara O’Neil, Regional Director of Alumni Services
There have been times in my life when I have been feeling low, and I’ve told myself, “Cara, you still have sports and you still have 12 Step meetings.” Well, I woke up the other day and there were no sports on my television. There was no softball to be played. There were no gyms open. In addition, I was unable to attend 12 Step meetings in person. So now what? Do I sit on my couch and eat Doritos and watch Netflix for weeks? Do I lay in my bed thinking of all that has been lost? OR do I act like the recovered person I am and live this life that I have been given? Being an alcoholic, I thought about it for a minute. I mean, Netflix and Doritos are tempting. So is a little self-pity. Fortunately, I decided to turn to my Higher Power instead.
What can I do for the man who still suffers? How can I be of service in a time like this? So many questions and so much uncertainty. I needed my Higher Power’s help.
One thing I know is that I can and will stay sober through this time. I will continue to work THE 12 Step Program. I will continue to work on my connection with my Higher Power through Step 11, but how will I reach the newcomer, and how can I be of service?
Luckily I realized that my phone still works. I can reach out to people via phone calls, texts, emails, and Facetime. I have stepped this up. This is something that has truly helped me. The great thing about our 12 Step community is that we all seem to step into fear at different times. Someone is always there, reminding me of the solution when I need it and vice versa.
Connection is the key and I have to be able to adapt. Zoom meetings are popping up all over the country. I recently attended a meeting based in Utah and had the opportunity to read 12 Step literature via Zoom with my sponsor. This filled me with gratitude, but my sponsor will be the first to tell me this isn’t about you, Cara. Right, this isn’t about me.
So how can I be of maximum service today? I believe there are some simple ways to adjust. If you have a Homegroup, help get a Zoom meeting started. Be as active in your Homegroup as possible. Offer to chair the meeting or lead the meeting. If you log into a Zoom meeting on a computer, you can easily greet each person as they enter the meeting (depending on size). Everyone will still need jobs in order to keep these meetings going. In addition, share your Zoom meeting links with others. But honestly and most importantly, SHOW UP. Do your part! Share about The Solution. Continue to do what works!
For the newcomer, let’s get old school. This means we may need to seek out those who need help instead of waiting for them to come to us. Call a treatment center. Ask if there are patients discharging that need to connect to people. Give out your phone number. Get numbers from those who need help and call them. I have been lucky over the years as most of my sponsees have been handed to me. Now it is time to seek out those who need help. At the end of the day, this all comes back to my own spiritual fitness, as I cannot give something I do not have.