Story submitted by: Dagmar Y.
Sobriety Date: 09/27/2003
When I came back into the program I knew I had to do things differently – become honest – lest I perish.
I walked into the NE Fellowship in El Paso trembling with a hangover (tremors had become the norm these days) and sat in a corner wondering “how’d I get here again”? Angry, disillusioned, and full of rage – I was the last one in and the first one out. I didn’t want to get to know these folks – and I was sure they didn’t want to get to know me any better than they had when I came to visit from Colorado over the last 10 years… Had just come back from a 4 year bender after 6 years of doing it “my way”. I knew I could not “fake it” anymore, I was suicidal when I picked up that phone that day and called for help.
After a couple months and not crawling out of my skin so much, it was advised I head on over to an intergroup meeting with a few folks I’d tolerated from the group. I figured “why not”, and headed over with a bleeding Deacon and Deaconess- who happened to be my mom and step-dad. They talked about how awesome it was going to be to have a newcomer at the meeting – especially one that had a Graphic Arts Degree and could help the district newsletter get a bit of new wind.
We got to Intergroup and they cheered that they had a quorum. As the meeting progressed and the committees were called. The Deaconess stood up and began talking about having someone for the newsletter. They were so passionate and excited about the newsletter on the ride over, I had fed into ‘helping’ the newsletter the excitement was rolling around inside. The Committee Chair asked when it had been decided to revive the newsletter again.
I just sat there stunned – “revive”?!- I’d been led to believe that there was a current newsletter being printed and the chair just needed some help… or was that the cotton in my ears still?
The two’s shoulders fell just a bit and they advocated for the need to get communication up and running again in the district, which was agreed by the whole. Then the topic of money came up and it was asked how it would be funded. We all piped up and said we’d make sure it was self supporting – no idea if we could do this, but we convinced them all that it could be done. Then the question came up as to who would be editor and I was introduced as just that. I wasn’t going to let them down after just fighting to be allowed to get it up and running – boy howdy… they knew me!
By God’s grace and little cans being passed around at meetings all over town, we had enough to buy a printer and several packages of ink. The first edition of the newsletter came out for December 2003 and January 2004- the Phoenix had risen!
I was able to interview some amazing local people each and every month for the next 18 months, including the Spanish members in the groups that were in the community, through an interpreter, until I moved to Carlsbad. I was sad to let my baby go, being editor helped me to become so firmly entrenched in my community.
I knew I needed a service position locally and volunteered as soon as I got a sponsor in the area and a place to call mine – no more running back to El Paso every weekend and telling my sponsor “but they don’t do it up there like we do it here”. She was a retired school teacher getting ready to move to Hawaii in a couple months. She recommended I find a local sponsor to keep me on track. I resisted (too many changes in a short period of time- aren’t we the best at that?) but did meet my current sponsor after she moved here 2 months after me.
Thank God for another strong person in service, in recovery. She walked me through some of my darkest days and saved me with her straightforward love and frankness, teaching me how to sponsor and always be kind and loving. We became service junkies in our local district and groups, often holding 2 or 3 positions at a time, and swapped seats many times in the next 14 years. We laughed, cried, and howled at the stars sometimes, but she’s still my sponsor. She lives in AZ now, I’ve visited a couple times, in a joyous state with her husband and is enjoying retirement. I know I can pick up the phone, day or night, and reach out – she will be there with all her wisdom. I can hear her say “you know Dea, I have found…”
I couldn’t imagine not having a service position, even if it was just making sure the coffee was properly made (I still think I do it best), big or small all my amazing sponsors (who all have sponsors) have shown me through example how to be the decent human being you may see today.
I am able to laugh, love, and share because of “The Program” and not “My Program”. Service has kept me going during my dark days (you couldn’t do it without me after all) and kept me firmly planted in the huddle on the field – rather than that spectator that almost died. Thank you for allowing me to serve.
I’d like to close with this… If you don’t have a sponsor – GET ONE! They are the best to blame: “My sponsor is making me do…” and talk to fellow travelers that know exactly how you feel. 😉