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Grapevine : February 2011
deed just to try and manipulate the outcome. When it was time for my six-month token I was a mess. My life was awful and I just had to take people's word that it would get bet- ter. The night before my anniversary, Larry gave me a bronze token in an envelope and told me that if I could stay sober until midnight, I could open it. Even though it was a school night, I stayed up late just so I could have that token. After one or two years Larry was laid off and moved to Indianapolis to find work. He suggested my second sponsor, a woman named Eunice. Larry and Eunice didn't appear to be afraid of anybody or anything. I wanted that. Through AA I learned to trust a Higher Power and eventu- ally myself. The Promises say that if we work the Steps, fear of people and economic insecurity will leave us, and it does. I joke that I went to the Larry and Eunice School of As- sertiveness Training. I could never repay the kindness and strength giv- en to me by these and other people in AA. I learned from the straight people in AA in Muncie, Ind., to love who I am, that I did not have to take flak from people because I happened to be born gay. They taught me that I was perfectly acceptable just the way God made me. There were those who didn't like me because I was gay. Some would tell Eunice, "It's OK that he's gay, but does he have to talk?" This was followed by the air turning blue---she could cuss like a sailor. Many of them nevertheless learned to respect me for staying sober and living a good, honest life. One of the most important lessons I learned in AA was not to care so much about what others thought of me. I was told I wouldn't worry so much about what they thought of me if I real- ized how little they thought of me. Eunice remained my sponsor for about the next 16 or 17 years. She eventually ended up in a nursing home and died without ever taking another drink. In 1987 I met my current part- ner, a non-drinker. Relationships aren't easy for me. We have grown up together and spent a lot of time around the program of AA. While our relationship is not perfect, I am so grateful that he and his family are a part of my life. If anyone had told me 30 years ago that my life would be like it is now I would not have believed him. If I had been able to decide what I wanted instead of what my Higher Power wanted, I would have vastly shortchanged myself. I didn't re- ally believe that happiness was real or possible for me. I didn't know that I didn't have to drink; that I didn't have to live in fear. I didn't know that I could feel this OK in my own skin. Dan S. Indianapolis, Ind. Grapevine 13