Ron G’s Promises

I’ve never been hot for the Promises. At least not the sing-a-long Promises: the 9th step.

When I first got to A.A. you people told me I was going to have a life beyond my wildest dreams. God, that made me sick! I already had a life beyond my wildest dreams — a beautiful wife, 4 great kids, a house on the river in Florida, my own Company contracting to Fortune 500 companies — and I still wanted to die, because I could no longer drink. There was no Joy anywhere.

No, those silly-assed things in the Promises weren’t for me. And I didn’t want to hear “You Are Not Alone“. As bad as I felt, I wanted to be alone! I wanted to sit in a corner and cry. I didn’t want to hear how damn happy you were that you weren’t drinking. Looking back, I believe that it is vital that we tell newcomers that there is Happiness and Joy in Sobriety, but at that time I was not able to hear it. The only reason I kept coming back is that I would have lost my Family if I hadn’t.

I came into a meeting about a week sober and told you: “My life is not beyond my wildest dreams! The Cops seized my brand new car ’cause I was buying drugs in it! I still have 4 1/2 years of payments on it!”

Bubba told me: “That’s the ‘wreckage of your past’. That was caused by your drinking, not by getting Sober. It will get better.”

I came back in the next week and said: “It’s NOT getting better! It’s getting worse! The D.A. is talking about declaring me habitual and giving me 25 to life for my 4th felony!

Ron G. said simply: “Every thing’s gonna be alright!

He had such faith, I almost wanted to believe him, though it seemed so dark. Maybe this A.A. thing had some sort of magical powers! I probed further. “You mean since I’m not drinking God is gonna whisper in the judge’s ear and he’ll let me off?

I’ll never forget his words, he was so sincere. He said: “What do I look like? A fucking Gypsy? How the hell do I know what the judge is gonna do? Sounds like you’re goin’ down though, probably for a while. But it’s gonna be alright. They got A.A. in prison, too! And your job is: ‘to not drink. No matter what!

‘My life’s not getting better…'” he mimicked, “‘..it’s getting WORSE!’ So What! You think you got problems today? Go out drinking. Tomorrow you’ll WISH you had today’s problems!

Over the coming months I re-iterated my position, and he re-iterated his message.

I wanted to drink all day!” I’d announced at a meeting.

You know why you wanted to drink?” he’d ask.

Finally, the answer I’d been waiting for! “Why?” I begged.

’cause you’re an alcoholic!” he laughed. “Get a Sponsor!”

He didn’t know he was the closest thing I could have to a Sponsor right then.

I had a Horrible day!” I told the group.

If you’re having a bad day…” he started…

Finally, the answer I’d been waiting for! “Yeah?”

Hope you’re enjoying it!” he laughed. “’cause it’s your day and you can change it anytime you want! But sometimes we just wanna sit in our own shit, don’t we?” He squirmed his butt around in his chair. “We been doing it all our lives and we’re used to it. It’s what feels most comfortable.

More weeks and months went by. I told the group: “Stop talking about those bullshit Promises! I’m never going to lose my fear of people! It’s been with me my whole life! It’s why I drank! I had to have 3 or 4 drinks just to go to a bar and get drunk! People scare the shit out of me“.

Work the steps!” he told me. I didn’t know it, but I already was. I was going to town on my fear inventory. New ones were popping up and being catalogued every day.

More months went by. “I can’t talk to God!” I told the group, taking yet another meeting hostage. “I’m afraid of Him and pissed at Him and I sure as Hell don’t want to ask Him for any favors.”

We get it!” Ron said. “The Promises won’t happen for you. OK. You’ll never have a relationship with a power greater than yourself. You’ll never lose your fear of people. You’ll never stop regretting the past or know peace. God’s not gonna do a damn thing for you! For damn sure your self-pity won’t disappear! We get it. Here’s the only damn thing you’re going to get out of A.A.: You never have to drink again!. You don’t have to die drunk!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

My ex-wife’s ex-husband

Note to Editor: what’s that make him, my husband-in-law?

Ed: No, Umm… First Husband once removed. But don’t write me notes in the manuscript. Everyone can see them.

My ex-wife’s ex-husband saved my life. He was an alcoholic, too. He got sober in A.A. back in the mid 80’s. He was a good friend of mine. He came to visit me after I moved to Tampa, once with his wife, once without. He was one of the most talented people I’ve ever known — spoke 7 languages, funny, good looking, fit — I always admired him.

He stayed sober for a number of years, but eventually they got divorced. (Just because you’re not drinking doesn’t mean every aspect of your life is going to be perfect) Later, his ex-wife and I got together. Years later, when my drinking was out of control and my life was becoming unmanageable, my wife told me to go to A.A. It had worked for someone else she was married to. She had more faith in A.A. than I did in the beginning.

Eventually, she and I got divorced. It happens.

Sometime in the last 20 years my ex-wife’s ex-husband started drinking again. About a month ago he died. He drank himself to death. Alcohol poisoning.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

As I look back on it, I see that not having to die drunk is pretty important. In many ways, it’s unbelievable that a guy like me has a chance to die with a little more dignity. I couldn’t go one stinking day without one stinking drink. And now I don’t ever have to drink again. I don’t have to die drunk. A drunk like me…

I never dreamed that could happen for me.  That’s truly beyond my wildest dreams.

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