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Grapevine : August 2011
For years she continued drink- ing, wrecking cars, getting sick, get- ting arrested, checking in and out of rehabs all over the country. She'd call from time to time, always chim- ing, "I'm back!" but it was always short-lived. She could not find the language of the heart we had to- gether as sober friends. The conver- sations would drift to her weight, her latest boyfriend, people she didn't like at the new facility and tabloid headlines. She would tell me I was lucky not to have relapsed. She said this often, genuine at first, then with increasing bitterness. I've often asked myself why some people can't seem to stick with it, while others can. Two barflies turn sober within months of each other, become sisters in AA, truly bonded through the Fellowship. One relaps- es, the other doesn't. Why? There were no real answers. I remind myself that carrying the message is a matter of attrac- tion rather than promotion, so I'm not too heavily invested in luring my friend back to sobriety. I can be there when she calls, and I can share my own experience, but I cannot will her into totally surrendering to the program. Nor can I pretend that we are speaking the same language. Relationships outside of AA can be full of depth, meaning, mutual understanding and support. They cannot, however, duplicate the inex- plicable magic that happens when one alcoholic reaches out to another in the framework of the Fellowship, the Twelve Steps and Twelve Tradi- tions. A relationship with the Power in AA is infinite and flawless. Suzan C. San Francisco, Calif. Discussion topic The author of "Frac- tured Friendship" writes about how friends in the program truly understand what it's like to be an alcoholic. "With any good friend I can share laughter, concerns and even sorrows. Only my AA friends know and understand the insidious, destructive think- ing that lies dormant in me, ready to awaken whenever I am prepared to feed it with a deteriorating spiritual condition." Even though the friend who helps her get sober even- tually relapses and, despite many tries, does not make it back to the rooms, the writer is le with a profound gratitude for the friendship and for her other relation- ships within AA. Have you, or members of your group, discovered sobriety through a friend? Have you lost friends in the program to relapse? How have your friendships aided you on your road to re- covery? How did you handle the relapse of a friend? Do you practice attraction? You may use this topic at a discussion meeting, or share your experience on the i-Say bulletin board, www. aagrapevine.org. aagrapevine.org 15