Ask and It Shall Be Given You
By Michael Jarvis, Army
Writing Type: Prose
Alcoholics Anonymous saved my life. Its program for living has taught me how to relax, one day at a time. Before, I drank to relax.
In September 1984, I prayed to God for help. Being sure my wife was going to die, I asked God to watch over me after she was gone. My wife didn’t die; we recently celebrated our 20th anniversary. Thank God! In January 1985, I began attending AA meetings.
That was the second way God answered that prayer. In the meetings we sit and listen to each other share. To actually sit and really listen to another person is a foreign experience. It’s taken me years to master it.
People in AA suggested I get a sponsor. They told me I couldn’t do the program alone and would be prone to idiotic ideas. They were right and I went back to drinking. They said a sponsor would guide me so I wouldn’t need alcohol to live. Actually, for me alcohol is SATAN, destroyer of everything.
This story is about how I finally rose above my misery and got a sponsor. We had moved to Colorado in 1987. In November 1990, my wife kept suggesting that I ask someone to be my sponsor. I wouldn’t because I was afraid. At that time it was impossible for me- to ask anyone for help.
Reluctantly, very reluctantly, I broke down and found some self-respect. Here’s what happened. One Saturday night my wife suggested we go to a meeting at a bowling alley. I had never heard of it but in the end, I reluctantly agreed.
I felt nervous the whole time I was driving there. There was a queasy feeling in my stomach and my hands were tingling. When we got inside, there was no one there yet. What a relief!
We sat and waited. One other person showed up and my wife began talking to him. She has always been good at breaking the ice with strangers. He asked, was there another meeting nearby. We said there was one at the AA Club. The three of us went over in our own vehicles.
I don’t recollect anything about the meeting, but afterwards we talked to Rick. That was his name. I talked to him some. He was easy to talk to. I remember that he joked some which was a foreign thing for me. I was very, very serious. I asked him if he was going to be at this meeting next week and he said, “Yes.”
The following week, the sponsor thing came up again. It was embarrassing not having anyone whom I felt comfortable enough with to ask to be my sponsor. Being comfortable was hard for me to obtain. The thought came to ask Rick. He was new in town. It would be easier to ask him.
The day came and he was at the meeting… just like he said. Keeping commitments is important to him. I got up enough nerve to ask him and he said, “Yes.” What a relief! He said we could meet once a week and work through things together. That was more than nine years ago and we are still at it.
Rick is 12 years younger than I, but we have so many similar feelings and attitudes. He is forty years old and twenty years sobriety in AA. How fortunate to find it so young. Different things happened through the years. In the beginning, I’d just quit the last job I held. He helped me through the turbulent period with Social Services, Social Security and the VA.
We went through his getting married for the first time, having two girls and troubles at work. He showed me that I don’t have to quit because things get difficult. We survived the period when he resented the fact I didn’t have to work any longer. He is an engineer and has to put in 50 - 55 hours a week at work. His wife talked to him about his attitude. I thought of firing him. I brought it up and he apologized.
I don’t know how much longer Rick will be my sponsor. The plant where he works is closing down in one month due to foreign competition. God has blessed him with a number of job offers, some out of the area. If he ends up leaving here, I’ll miss him a great deal. But, I know a job is very important. Thank God for Rick. God bless everyone in AA and on their journey leading to AA, Alcoholics Anonymous.