I remember when we used to do more Twelve Step calls on wet drunks. I’ve been on some interesting ones. But just because we’re not doing as many, doesn’t mean there’s not Twelve Step work still to be done.
Some members do this work utilizing letter or email correspondence. Sometimes we have scheduled Twelve Step calls in prisons, jails and treatment centers. Over the winter holidays, Mel F. and I had the opportunity to hold a meeting in the Winslow State Prison in Winslow, Arizona. I see these meetings as a gift. I am never thirsty after doing an Alcoholics Anonymous prison meeting. During my drinking days, I tried to stay out of jails. Now I look forward to going into jails where I am reminded of what “one day at a time” means.
While many people think of a Twelve Step call as being all about newcomers, let’s not forget those who’ve been around the program for a while. Lately we’ve lost some long-timers in my community. They died sober, and they will be remembered and missed. Some people say they go to the “Big Meeting in the Sky.” (Are the meetings down below small?) I like to think that they just changed their home group.
There are also many opportunities to take meetings to older, incapacitated members. I’ve had the opportunity to visit a couple of these folks in recent weeks; and as usual, I find I still learn from these old-timers. I remember one member, sober for more than 50 years, who gave me a new perspective on the Serenity Prayer. He said all those years he’d been saying the prayer the wrong way. Now, he says, “Please, God grant me the serenity….” For me, it adds humility to the meaning.
I remember hearing it said somewhere that despite what we are often told, the newcomer is not the most important person at any meeting. Equally important are those old-timers who have shown me the way, and any middle-timer who may be suffering today. If newcomers are indeed the lifeblood of Alcoholics Anonymous, middle-timers and old-timers are its skin and backbone.