In Preparation To Receive A Gift

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jmc612989
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In Preparation To Receive A Gift

Post by jmc612989 »

One evening in January, 1984 I was sitting propped up against the wall of the apartment I had to vacate the next morning, a half empty bottle of scotch on the counter that I was fixing to finish when there was a knock on the door. My wife had left me and we’d sold all our earthly possessions and split the money, so I had $250. And I could take all I had left, put it in a really old beat-up car and have room for passengers. My life 16 years out of high school was not a testament to the American Dream.

When I answered the door, the husband of one of my wife’s coworkers was standing there. He asked me if I thought I might have a problem with my drinking. I remember looking at my sorry pile of possessions in a couple of cardboard boxes, looking back at him and saying No, now beat it.

By December of that year the wife was back, I had the best job I’d ever had, and I was living in a condo on the Gulf of Mexico with Gulf views from every window. My drinking was accelerating but try telling me I had a problem then when I was on top of my game, living life large.

Five years later the wife was gone again, this time for good. I had traded my seaside condo for a dingy room, and my life was filled with despair, fear, vodka, and thoughts of suicide. When I look back on it I sometimes feel that I’m watching a movie of someone else’s life, or it was all a bad dream. The life I’ve been granted in sobriety stands in such stark contrast to my active alcoholism that it couldn’t be just one life. And had you known me at the end you would have said “That poor wretch is going to die.”

When I was just three months sober I heard a man share something I’ve never forgotten. “I was laying in a gutter one rainy night, again, ankles oozing pus. And I’ll never forget the disgust on the faces of the people standing over me. What no one knew at the time was that I was in preparation to receive a gift.” He was 22 years sober at the time.

AA doesn’t give up on anyone, and there’s no case too difficult for God.


I remain forever grateful that I'm Done Drinkin
Yours In Recovery
John C
I remain forever grateful that I'm Done Drinkin
Yours In Recovery
John C

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Tommy-S
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Re: In Preparation To Receive A Gift

Post by Tommy-S »

Hi everyone,

The story reminded me of the many excuses I told myself when drinking... The props I used outside of me to 'convince' myself I was OK, perpetuating the Delusion that I could control and enjoy my drinking.

Like the fellow in the story, I would make excuses, (a sure sign that I had a problem as I found out in AA, as normal drinkers don't make excuses)

"Everyone else drinks like I do"... But I only surrounded myself with others who drank as I did for camouflage. And even then, they weren't getting into the trouble I got into.

"I work hard, so I can play hard"... Everything I did was to extreme, in order to gain some sign of respect from others as Alcohol robbed me of self-respect time and again, waking up morning after morning ashamed and horrified at the things I did behind the drink.

I could also ignore everything staring me in the face that said "I have a problem" and focus on the one thing that (seemed to be) going right as Proof I was OK

Deep down, knew there was something wrong, as the little voice would remind me over and over. When Others said I had a problem, I got angry. I knew I had a problem! Being reminded of that fact but not knowing what to do about it just made me angrier and angrier...and I drank more. It was a vicious cycle deeper into Madness!

Bill W. once wrote, "It's darkest before the dawn". I gave up, and resigned myself to die.
"What no one knew at the time was that I was in preparation to receive a gift.”
And so it was with me, as I took Action and came to AA, and found a second chance at life, a gift of Grace & Mercy through Alcoholics Anonymous. And it's a good life.

Thanks... Tommy
Together, we don't have to cave in or wimp out to that Fatal First One, no matter what today!

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littlered2
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Re: In Preparation To Receive A Gift

Post by littlered2 »

Thank you for sharing this John. The story makes such a good point - "That'll never happen to me" is so easy...

Tommy, one of your comments made me think of a song popular now, called Shake it Off by Florence and the Machine (do you know it? I seem to remember there being rules about posting links so I'll refrain from putting the youtube video here unless someone says that's ok?). It's a love song, I think, but when you mentioned the dark always before the dawn it reminded me of it, and I think it, in a lot of ways, relates to this battle of getting sober.

Here are the lyrics:

Florence And The Machine
Shake It Out lyrics

Regrets collect like old friends
Here to relive your darkest moments
I can see no way, I can see no way
And all of the ghouls come out to play

And every demon wants his pound of flesh
But I like to keep some things to myself
I like to keep my issues strong
It's always darkest before the dawn

And I've been a fool and I've been blind
I can never leave the past behind
I can see no way, I can see no way
I'm always dragging that horse around

And our love is pastured such a mournful sound
Tonight I'm gonna bury that horse in the ground
So I like to keep my issues strong
But it's always darkest before the dawn

Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaah
Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaah

And it's hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off, oh woah

I am done with my graceless heart
So tonight I'm gonna cut it out and then restart
Cause I like to keep my issues strong
It's always darkest before the dawn

Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaah
Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaah

And it's hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off, oh woah

And given half the chance would I take any of it back
It's a fine romance but it's left me so undone
It's always darkest before the dawn

Oh woah, oh woah...

And I'm damned if I do and I'm damned if I don't
So here's to drinks in the dark at the end of my rope
And I'm ready to suffer and I'm ready to hope
It's a shot in the dark and right at my throat
Cause looking for heaven, found the devil in me
Looking for heaven, found the devil in me
Well what the hell I'm gonna let it happen to me

Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaah
Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaah

And it's hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off, oh woah

Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaah
Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaah

And it's hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off, oh woah
No Day But Today

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ann2
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Re: In Preparation To Receive A Gift

Post by ann2 »

Hi Littlered,

Loved the lyrics posting. Much of my early sobriety was made possible by listening to Pearl Jam, Steely Dan and Suzanne Vega among others with the headphones on and the volume on 10. Lots of lonely dancing going on at the same time. It's funny, looking back, how the lyrics that resonate with me have steadily gotten more cheerful over the years (except for the occasional marriage spat type of things :roll:) --

For example, Beyonce's "Halo"

Everywhere I'm looking now
I'm surrounded by your embrace
Baby I can see your halo
You know you're my saving grace


Katy Perry's "Firework"

Do you ever feel already buried deep?
6 feet under screams but no one seems to hear a thing
Do you know that there's still a chance for you
'Cause there's a spark in you

You just gotta ignite the light, and let it shine
Just own the night like the 4th of July

'Cause baby you're a firework
Come on, show 'em what you're worth
Make 'em go "Oh, oh, oh"
As you shoot across the sky-y-y


These are my obviously really gusto songs . . . between these and Pearl Jam I might have been singing along with Shawn Colvin

Now we see the women
In the photograph
Sweet Anne of mercy
And Sylvia Plath
For a thousand words
They got a life sentence

If we lined up all the girls
Who died in vain
We could walk on their heads
To hell and back again
But I got the big book
And antidepressants
("heh" she says here)

So I can see the process in my song choices along with so much else. I mean, I was terribly depressed, but more than than, I was powerless over my drinking. AA showed me the way to get 24 hours together without alcohol, and doing that, day by day, I have managed to put my head around some really interesting experiences in life . . . things that include joy and hope and a connection with a spiritual reality.

There's other parts of my life that are perhaps more important than the songs I crank on the radio . . . but I'm blessed in that I have 25 years of sobriety to look back and see the progression -- toward something, rather than away from something. That "something" I guess I'll never reach, but on the other hand keeping the mystery is fun in itself :-)

Glad you're here and hope you keep sharing,

Ann
"If I don't take twenty walks, Billy Beane send me to Mexico" -- Miguel Tejada

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littlered2
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Re: In Preparation To Receive A Gift

Post by littlered2 »

Thank you. I will have to keep my ears open for other examples!
No Day But Today

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Tommy-S
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Re: In Preparation To Receive A Gift

Post by Tommy-S »

Bill's Story (BB, pg 8) "How dark it is before the dawn!"

Songs won't get me sober.

Getting myself to meetings where I find others like myself (Strength in Numbers)... following the Directions laid out in our Big Book with the help of a Sponsor... Trying to help others alcoholics... And Not caving in to that Fatal First One on a daily basis... This is what works for alcoholics like me.

If I could sing myself sober, I wouldn't need AA.

Thanks... Tommy
Together, we don't have to cave in or wimp out to that Fatal First One, no matter what today!

Jaywalker Steve
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Re: In Preparation To Receive A Gift

Post by Jaywalker Steve »

Thank you and God bless!
Every group has men and women who put too much thought and effort into their daily sobriety and not enough of themselves into their daily living. - Ed B., Akron, OH

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ann2
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Re: In Preparation To Receive A Gift

Post by ann2 »

Tommy_S wrote:Songs won't get me sober.
Ah, but they're a big part of my conscious contact with my higher power . . . and they have been part of the push I needed to start taking certain steps 8)
"If I don't take twenty walks, Billy Beane send me to Mexico" -- Miguel Tejada

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