Went to a Sunday night speaker meeting. I really haven’t planned to attend so much AA lately, but I’m having hard times since picking up that year sober chip. Whew, have I been tested this past month. Like some divine source said, Oh you think youre special with that 365 mark?” And then decided to show me just what life on life’s terms is all about. Anyway, the past 30 days have been a real doozy. I digested what the speaker had to say tonight and my spiritual belly was full when I left.
His name is “Road Kill” and he has 20 years. He’s also a fine story-teller. In the 60s he was sent to Angola (prison in Louisiana made famous for it’s cruel and unusual punishment and death of inmates) for five years. He told us that in his first year, he witnessed 115 murders. “I thought before I was bad ass, well I wasn’t. When you see a man die 10 feet in front of you, you know what bad is and I ain’t it” . He was married to a beautiful addict with whom he had two children. She got clean and sober in treatment and after living with him as a dry drunk for 5 more years, she left him. He went back out drinking and retold his blackouts, his piss- covered pants, and all manner of dirty laundry. What was special about his story, was the similarity between his own journey toward sobriety and Bob’s (AA co founder). He knew it was time to quit, but couldn’t. He prayed to a God he didn’t know, to “please, please..” No more. But three days later, he was back at the bar. What happened after that first prayer, he felt, was an answer. His best drinking buddy had been sober 90 days. This friend walked into the bar that night, three days after his prayer to quit, and he asked his friend to come with him to a meeting to pick up a chip. Well he was already three sheets so he declined, but he asked his friend, “Will you be going to a meeting in the morning?” The friend said of course. Road Kill asked, “Can you pick me up?” Because so many times he’d driven by the meeting spot, but couldn’t do it alone. His friend was thrilled to give him a lift the next day. And that was it. He prayed each day to his Higher Power. Every prayer was eventually answered in only the way that an HP will do. AA says only an alcoholic in recovery keeps another alcoholic sober. Lots of time that’s the truth. For Road Kill, an alcoholic brought him to the meeting where he picked up his “desire” chip.
Tonight’s speaker also left us with this story. You may have heard it. A man who could make fire traveled from hamlet to hamlet, village to village, to bring fire to the ones who could not make fire. He was very popular and revered. Until one day he walked into a tribe to bring fire, and the elders were angry. Who is this man bringing fire, exciting our young minds, stealing our thunder? They killed him that night in his sleep. The young villagers, in his honor, placed the tools for making fire up on a wall as homage. And they stayed there. They never tried to use the tools to make their own fires. Never put into practice what the Fire Maker had freely given them. And obviously he related this tale to the 12 steps on every wall in any AA group meeting hall.
“Here are the tools on the wall, now use them.”
But it was more than 12 steps for me. Because the “fire maker” to me was also Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, Ghandi, MLK jr., and any other truth teller that shows a way, and urges us to create our own fire. Set yourself on fire, people. Be a light in the dark. We all have this ability. I know I do. It keeps me sober to remember my hands can make fire, if only I have the courage to take the tools down from the wall.