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Grapevine : June 2011
former colleague who I had “coincidentally” bumped into four weeks before, after not having seen him for seven years, who had told me he was in AA. The phone call changed my life. I began going to meet- ings and, after a few weeks, realized that the constant noise in my head, all the guilt and shame surround- ing my relationship with my father and how I used it to fuel and justify my own drinking, had disappeared. When I was nine months sober, my mother visited me in Bangkok. As I was recounting my bottom, what I believe to be an act of Providence occurred, when my mother responded, plainly and unassumingly, “Maybe your father was helping you.” This blew me away, and has stayed with me ever since. Whether it is true or not, I will never know. What I do know, is that I have been at peace with my father and my part in our relation- ship from the moment I walked into AA. I have never needed to carry out further amends in this regard, and the relationship I had with him was one of the most fractious of my life. I have, through the grace of God, become reunited with my father, who died over a decade before I got sober. James M. Bangkok, Thailand sponding to life on life’s terms. Among many other things, I am able to respond more appropriately to work-related demands. I can respond gratefully to my employer’s ongoing (and happy) payment of my salary by putting in an honest day’s work. I can also respond to demands or requests from my bosses that, upon sober thought and with the help of my sponsor, I believe are beyond my current abilities or reasonable bound- aries. In other words, I can put into practice the concept that “No” is a complete sentence. Being response- able in the workplace is a gift that has lifted many burdens I once mistak- enly assumed. Perhaps most important to this champion isolator, the gift of being response-able means that there are, and always will be, people in my life to whom I can respond. I once viewed people in my life as imposing, burden- some responsibilities, and I did many harmful things to get away from those responsibilities. Because my Higher Power has made me response-able, this gift gives me the opportunity to have a genuine relationship with oth- er human beings. Like so many other gifts in AA, this is beyond my wildest dreams. To turn the original phrase on its head, you too would be grateful if you were as response-able as I am learning to become. Joe V. Munsey Park, N.Y. The hospice he was in allowed him to continue drinking as he only had days left. aagrapevine.org 43 GRAPE_41-43.indd 43 4/29/11 1:08 PM