Ten Things I Learned While Not in a 12-Step Program

2013-01-28 20.51.15

Everyone always asks me how I know so much about Alcoholics Anonymous.  The truth is that a little goes a long way.  And I had a little exposure a long way back.  In the mid-80’s I attended AA meetings every Friday night for nine months…as an employee.

My first real job, the kind I got without any help, on my own, with an interview and all, was at a 28-day drug and alcohol treatment center.  I had always assumed they hired me because they were so inspired by my youth, my visions of changing the world, my amazing interviewing ability, my winning personality and the extensive skills that I gained working at McDonalds as a teenager. How horrified was I when years later I discovered that they only hired me to fill a quota – they thought I was Mexican.  Okay, so my prior job was at an inner city Hispanic community center and when I interviewed, it was the summer and I was really tan.  Either way, no matter how I got the job, my responsibilities included the following: family therapy referee, TSA bag screener, drug sniffing dog, teacher of the first 5 steps, honorary friend of Bill, and activities director, I mean bus driver.  The latter meant chauffeuring a van load of recently sober or still detoxing drunks and druggies to Friday night AA or NA meetings.  Lord if I’d only known a thing or two about yoga and meditation back then.  I probably could have lasted more than 9 months in the job and the residents might have actually had a real activities director.

I will never forget this time of my life.  I learned things I will never forget, and many of which deserve their own post:

  1. Never trust a drunk
  2. KISS – keep it simple stupid
  3. Be careful what you pray for, you might get it
  4. My higher power fluctuates but in the winter months, it’s Chapstick
  5. The senility prayer: God grant me the senility to forget the things I cannot change…
  6. One day at a time often means one minute at a time
  7. We are as sick as our secrets
  8. If you keep doing what you’re doing you’ll keep getting what you’re getting
  9. Pay attention to the message not the messenger
  10. When in doubt, don’t (should I really have posted this?

May you always have mutual friends of Bill if and when you need them.


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