Unity Helps Me Find My Rightful Place
My name is Betty and I’m an alcoholic. We in AA are very blessed people because we need never to be alone anymore. I arrived at Alcoholics Anonymous in October 1977. Other people also came to the Fellowship about the same time as me but for whatever reason they didn’t stay very long. The cunning, baffling and powerful disease probably took them out again. Some of them burned to death in their own beds due to cigarettes and drinking, some took their own lives and some went to prison. By the Grace of God I have managed to remain in AA.
At that time I was in awe of the sober people in the Fellowship. I had fear in my life but I wanted to be like them. There were people with all kinds of occupations or none, different faiths and cultures yet all seeming to get on pretty well together. They were united for their primary purpose to stay sober and help others to achieve sobriety. The 1st Tradition in the 12 x 12 book tells us that without Unity, AA dies.
I worked in an Accident Emergency department all of my life as a nurse. Going out to the helicopter pads and bringing in injured patients was normal for me. Mondays were always busy after the drunken weekends. I have seen many trauma cases and have been part of the team that treats those patients. The violence that people inflict on others can be devastating and life changing for them and their families.
Gunshot wounds, throats cut, facial and body slashings, eye injuries, murders... to name but a few and I have washed many dead bodies. This does not include the cardiac arrests, abdominal problems, fractured bones and babies born. The list goes on. I haven’t missed much and it has been a privilege to be with the sick and dying.
I was part of a team of skilled people with the same aim in mind... to save a person’s life. When a seriously traumatised person arrives in a hospital department the team go into action and follow the same protocol as best they can, together. If there was no team working for the same aim the patient would die. Everyone who is on a team is an important person and there is no time for huffs or resentments.
To me, the members of AA are just like the doctors and nurses that I worked with all my life. We all have spiritual gifts but if we don’t work as a team and use them we lose them and the patient may die.
When a newcomer arrives he is offered friendship and fellowship. It is suggested that he joins a group and finds a sponsor then someone, usually a temporary sponsor, will take him about meetings until he finds his own way. It is this unity of action that saves lives. When I came to AA I was the patient and every member united to help me and to save my life. All I was asked to do was the same in return.
An AA group’s spiritual unity is like love. There are no bosses. Instead, the informed group conscience is helpful as it lets all members know what decisions need to be taken. Voting must include all members’ points of view. Of course there are emergencies just like an accident department where an on the spot decision has to be taken such as we witnessed earlier this year. Group closures due to the pandemic were unavoidable and we have to continue to comply with the Government as the Traditions tell us we should.
Leaders in AA are important especially when you are the new person and need to ask questions. Service workers are important and some have special skills and will teach you if you are interested. But most of all, because of Unity, lives are saved. There is nothing more beautiful than to watch someone get well or a prisoner turn his life around with the help of the Programme and a good sponsor.
At home I also have family group meetings with my children. There are no bosses there either. We are united. Through unity in AA, my work and in my home I have found my rightful place. God is truly in charge.
There was a statement on the wall of a hospital that I once worked in which said ‘Arise take up your bed and walk.’ This is also found in AA literature. How uplifting when you see that miracle happen in our Fellowship