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Grapevine : September 2011
One day, when I was nearly 12 months sober, I was talk- ing to my sponsor when he abruptly cut me off, saying he'd call me back. He did, apologizing and telling me that Jim S. had been on the line and he wanted to take the call. Jim had recently been diagnosed with heart failure, my sponsor explained. Vividly I remember him saying, "You should get to know Jim before he dies. His word is as good as gold." The following Tuesday night, Jim was at our home group, a men's meeting that met a few blocks from the halfway house where I lived when I first got sober. The topic revolved around some work drama somebody was having or problems with their finances. When it was Jim's turn, he said, "I either have is- sues or I have God. Pass." From that moment on, I saw that Jim was a man of few words. I wanted to make sure and listen to whatever he said. Jim appeared to have a spiri- tuality and peacefulness I wanted, so I got his number from my home group's phone list and cold-called him. The call forever changed my life. We made plans to meet for lunch at a local restaurant near his house. He stood me up. When I called him to ask if we were still meeting, Jim apologized, humbly explaining that his life was unmanageable as he was losing some of his memory. We agreed to meet the following Friday morning at his house ... and our weekly meetings began. When it was apparent we were going to get along, I asked him to be my sponsor. He questioned my mo- tivation. I told him I was pursuing a spiritual way of life, that I wanted to develop my conscious contact with a God of my own understanding. Week after week, season after season, year after year, I showed up at Jim's house, usually with coffee and bagels. In the spring, we sat on the back porch under an airy canopy, looking at the flowers, bushes, deco- rative statues, birdfeeders, trees and small crops that adorned his back- yard. We talked about what the God of our understanding looked like, then we talked about what that ac- tual relationship looked like. We dis- cussed how to pursue that relation- ship, how to develop and grow. We shared intimate details of our lives. I told him about my fam- ily, upbringing and goals. He did the same. I read my resentments, fears and conduct inventory to him. He did the same with me. I asked him how to be a better member of AA. He showed me through his actions. I asked about his prayer and medi- tation practices. He explained them to me. I soon met a beautiful woman whom I knew I would marry. I again asked Jim how to be a better partner. He showed me through his interac- tions with his wife. aagrapevine.org 17