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Old 04-09-2015, 12:35 PM   #1
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Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 4
Default My 11th Step experience

I have been sober since May 22, 2007. Sometime during those years, it was made clear to me, through prayer and meditation, as a sober woman in AA that I was saved for a purpose. I embarked a mission to discover what that mission was. Like any good alcoholic, I wanted the purpose to be something grandiose, attention gathering…look at me!! Of course, as the years went by, I saw none of this success.
What I did find was a path towards inner peace and contentment. I found gratitude in literally every aspect of my life-good and bad.
My story involves one of those events. Earth shattering bad things to heaven affirming great things.
On May 10, 2010, my oldest daughter Kelly died of a drug overdose. Months prior, she had sought help in AA. Kelly celebrated her 90 days by speaking at a meeting. She was attending Big Book study’s, living in a sober environment, was involved in a home group and had a sponsor.
Kelly had lived with her father since the age of 11 due to my problems with alcohol. I wasn’t being the mother I was supposed to be so I went away to get help, leaving her with her father. Like a lot of alcoholics, I didn’t stay sober my first time around. As a result, Kelly stayed with her father.
Once I got sober in 2007, I followed advice on how to make amends with Kelly and the journey began for us to repair what we had lost. By this time, sadly, she was a young woman. She felt damaged and deserted. I will forever be grateful for the women who guided me through this difficult time of restoration. We were able to create a new relationship and looked toward a future. I began to realize that she, too, had a drinking problem.
We all know that AA is a program of attraction, not promotion. I knew that I had to wait for her to ask for help. I needed only to be consistent, available and sober. I prayed that she would see the change in me and that it would look desirable to her. I used to tell my friends that I would be uniquely qualified to help her when the time came. How wrong I was!
On a rainy night in November of 2009, the call finally came. “Mommy, I need help!” My husband and I jumped in the car and spent the rest of that rainy night in the emergency room. Quite a bit of persuasion was used to get Kelly to agree that she needed to go get help at a detox. She finally agreed. Where I was wrong about the “uniquely qualified” comment was that I was unable to treat Kelly like any other sick and suffering alcoholic. This was my daughter we’re talking about. I needed more for her. I needed for her to see the beauty in our way of life. I tried to stuff it down her throat. I, I, I! I felt like I was failing miserably where I once believed I would be “uniquely qualified”!
It was then that I knew that I had to leave her journey in the hands of others. I introduced her to some good women and stood back to let God do the rest. It seemed to be working. We did spend quite a bit of time together and were the famous mother-daughter duo at our home group. I will never truly know what was in my daughter’s head or heart. It did seem that she was enjoying being sober most of the time, but this is early sobriety that we’re talking about!! There were definitely ups and downs. There was refusal to change certain behaviors. As our literature tells us, “Change we must or die we will”.
Sunday, May 9, 2010, was Mother’s Day. Kelly and I went out for dinner. I took her back to her recovery house, we hugged each other and told each other how much we loved each other. That was last time I saw my daughter alive.
Now remember, that I was just coming up on my three year anniversary. To say that her death was the worst thing that ever happened to me is an understatement. The grace in all of this is that I can now tell you that it was the best thing that ever happened to my sobriety. It forced me to seek God in a way I might never have done except for this tragic event. I had been through the twelve steps, was working on doing steps 10, 11 and 12 on a daily basis but had not yet grasped the full impact of prayer and meditation.
Step 11 tells us that we “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry it out.” How was I to accept that the death of my child could possibly be His will? I embarked on the journey to discover how this could possibly work. You see, I was sober long enough and had enough evidence that our program of recovery does work to know that drinking wasn’t the answer. Killing myself seemed like a good idea at times, but that is a selfish act. The steps had taught me that selfishness is the root of my problems so that wasn’t going to work! Acceptance was all this alcoholic had left! So began my life with prayer and meditation. I walked around for months reciting the 11th step in my head. I cried, I picked fights with my loved ones, I withdrew from the world, but I kept reciting the 11th step in my head—and I didn’t drink.
For Christmas of 2010-7 months later-my parents gave me a book of meditations. The name of this book was “Jesus Calling”. When I opened it I wept. God was coming to me because I was struggling so hard to find Him! Within those pages I found a concept that I had learned in AA but had not applied to this situation. Gratitude. When God first spoke to me through these pages that I should be grateful for the death of my child, I said NO WAY! I couldn’t wrap my head around that. But then God reminded me that I had felt the same way about the steps of AA. I had begun that process in disbelief and had the results to show for it. “If that worked, why wouldn’t this?” So I began thanking God. It really kind of went like this…Thanks for killing my kid!!! Not too spiritual, huh? It became…Thanks for sparing my beloved child the horrors of the life of an alcoholic with no solution! In the last five years, I have sought God with the kind of intensity that I first sought sobriety. I have an amazing prayer and meditation routine. I have a new sponsor who continues to teach me how to meditate. It is in the meditating that the answers to prayer come. God has shown me the true meaning of the 11th step and allows me to practice it in all areas of my life. If not for the death of my child, I might never had reached this level of spirituality.
In the opening of my story I spoke of earth shattering and heaven affirming events. It turns out that they were the same event. The death of my beautiful Kelly. It crushed my soul for a time but with an amazing circle of AA support, the grace of the God of my understanding and a whole lot of work on my spirit, it turned into the event that gave me spirituality.
We hear in meetings all the time how AA is a spiritual program not a religious program. I found all of my acceptance, peace, joy and serenity through the process of losing a loved one and not in a church of any kind. It is my desire that this will show all who seek the understanding of “spiritual not religious” will find some of it in my story.
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