Sentenced: A Good Life
Norm H. | Cary, N.C.
Your honor, it was just a college prank,” I said to the judge shortly after my arrest for disorderly conduct.
“Young man, you are no longer in college,” was his sharp reply. He had a point, as I had graduated a year earlier, full of energy and promise, neither of which seemed to be present that day in the courtroom.
“Pay this fine,” the judge ordered. “You are on probation for one year.” And then he added, “Go talk to this man,” and handed me a sheet of paper with the name of Ed on it. Ed was an AA member who had volunteered his name to the court.
I felt embarrassed. We lived in a small city, and I knew several people in the courtroom. Also, I was being represented by my badly hungover uncle and attorney, who later died from this dreadful disease. However nothing slowed my drinking much, even after my arrest. After the court appearance, I was on good behavior for a short while. Then I was off to the races again.
Ed was a very nice man who did his best to get through to the “cement head” that I carried around back then. His helpful words made little impression at the time. They did, however, seem to plant the seed that was to take root 13 years later when I reached my moment of “pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization” and was, at last, ready to listen.
During those very wet 13 years, there were so many people who tried to help me. There was a priest, some doctors, a counselor, as well as well-meaning friends and family. I even read every self-help book I could get my hands on. None of it helped. I kept stopping and starting, over and over again. Nothing worked. I had finally reached my bottom.
Then, by the grace of my Higher Power, I somehow found my way back to AA. This time, I was able to hear what I had not registered before. A second chance at life via our wonderful program of recovery was mine for the asking. I was told not to drink, to go to meetings and to get a sponsor who would help me with the Steps. I was told to stay close, very close, to the program. That was in January of 1977. I thank my Higher Power every day that I have not had a drink since.
Now fast-forward 43 years. I’m retired and married to the same wonderful woman for 55 years. I dabble in art, go to a daily AA meeting and enjoy a life beyond my wildest dreams. And each New Year’s Day—my AA anniversary—I become ever more grateful.
The day I picked up my 40-year chip a few years ago is a day I will always remember. Two of our dear friends, a recovered couple my wife and I have known for years, hosted a wonderful New Year’s party at their lovely home. The house was filled with fun, laughter and delicious food. It was moment of AA fellowship at its finest. Our friends’ living room then became an AA meeting place, as 20 sober folks happily packed together, shoulder to shoulder, for what I thought was to be a typical, pleasant hour of sharing experience, strength and hope.
To my surprise and delight, our hostess, Vera, announced that we were gathered to bring in the new year and to celebrate my 40th anniversary. With a bright smile, she asked me to start off the sharing. I was so taken by surprise by the celebration of my anniversary that I have no idea what I said. I was overcome with emotion. Gratitude filled me up with the wonder of it all.
I had come a long way from the day I got the stern warning from that judge. I was just a young man then. I was so far from those 13 years of pain and turmoil, of trying so desperately to stop drinking alone. The rooms of AA welcomed me back and I got to start my life anew. And what a wonderful life it has become.
So there I sat, all those years later, trying to express my feelings without tearing up or babbling on (as I’ve been known to do) with all these AA friends I’ve grown to love. My heart was so filled with gratitude, I was hardly able to speak. But the message is simple. AA works, even for very slow learners like me.
I now understand what I heard early on—alcoholics are often helpless but never hopeless. So if you have had a slip or two, or even years of trying, don’t give up. This wonderful program works if you stay close, very close.
I hope to start this New Year the way I have since 1977— sober, thankful and committed to do all I can to pass it on.
Copyright July 2020 AA Grapevine, Inc.
Reprinted with permission
Celebrating the Miracle We All Are
Bluegrass Intergroup Meeting Minutes: May 2020
The meeting was conducted via Zoom. The meeting was called to order at 6:30 pm by Chair A.G. There were no non-AA announcements. Meeting opened with moment of silence followed by the Serenity Prayer. The Twelve Traditions were read by A.G.
AA announcements: none
Minutes: The minutes of the May meeting were reviewed and approved without dissent upon motion by J.B.
Financial Report: J.F. presented the Treasurer’s Report – Sales were $237.20 and dues were $2620.83, close to our January level. Additional contributions were $860. Debits were $2022.24. For the first time in 3 months, the Net income balance was positive at $1695.69. The report was discussed and approved unanimously.
Old Business: It was announced we have collected the $1,400.00 to purchase two new computers and an additional $150.00 we can use to purchase Quick Books Program. It was suggested that we keep the request for computer money on the Website. J.B. made motion to leave request up for three more weeks. G.M. seconded. Motion passed.
Steering Committee has worked on opening a Capital Expenditure Account, so if there is a need like this we will be prepared.
New Business: Gratz Park will not be charging us rent until we get back in office. They are also not charging the AA Groups that meet there.
M. will be in the office Monday, Wednesday & Friday, Noon – 5:00 pm – starting next week She has proper cleaning products, will clean credit cards & door knob. A sign will be put up stating ONLY ONE PERSON IN OFFICE AT A TIME. Call-In-Orders: she will place them in the breezeway.
STANDING COMMITTEE REPORTS
PICNIC – K. of Simple Solutions Group will be doing the Zoom portion for the Annual Picnic on June 20. He’ll be using the Zoom Program at UK which can hold 300 people! Agenda flyer has gone on the website. It will start at 11am with speakers at 12 noon and 1pm
LITERATURE – No Report – M. H. will be stepping down. E.S. stood for Chair with no dissent.
GRAPEVINE – trying to get a Grapevine Representative in all groups.
GROUP AWARENESS, H&I, PI – No Report
SCOOP – J.H. is asking our local Groups to ask members to write an article…Email in chat.
WEBSITE – D.A. reports he is working on combining our Online Data Base and the A.A. Data Base. We will be changing our Hosting Domain from Go-Daddy to something cheaper. By July 1st we need a contact person from each Group so we know if you are meeting face-to-face or Conference Call or Zoom. Please notify BGintergroup@ gmail.com with contact info. As of now, the government mandate is that 10-25 people can meet – no mtgs of 50 or more until July 1st. We will not post mtgs that are already meeting face-to-face. We need an email for a contact person from all groups by July 1st or your meeting will be taken off when we complete above Data Base project. Thanks to J.H. for putting Events Page on website.
District Liaison Reports
District 14: Upcoming meeting will be this Saturday, June 6th at 10:30am. We will be going over the Reopening Questions that Area 26 has put together for group consideration, and discussing hosting another workshop covering topics under PI/CPC.
District 15: Lillie R.
District 28 had their monthly business mtg on May 31st at 5 pm via Zoom. Our next meeting will be June 28th at 5 pm also via Zoom. Zoom mtg ID is 825 3012 9897, Password is 666245. This info is also listed on Intergroup website under “Links”. We appreciate Intergroup posting our info. If anyone home group in District 28 has a new GSR, please have them contact me at (859) 559-2845 and I will get them orientation details. Current open committee chairs are Accessibilities, PI, Corrections, and Workshop. Please share this with your home groups if you are a part of Dist. 28. We are running low on funds like much of AA. If anyone wishes to donate to District 28, our address to mail donations to is: P.O. Box 21767, Lexington, KY 40522-1767. We had discussion about the importance of contributing to all AA entities to remain self-supporting.
DCM Report: attended a DCM sharing session with our Area Delegate. Also contacted several district members who have not attended in several months to check on them.
Treatment: Waiting on hearing back from Schwartz Center on getting Bridging the Gap back into the facility. Men’s and Women’s HC are good to go with computers for meetings. CPC – Reached out to the Area CPC chair for some suggestions on what entities to contact and has reached out to his own employer and local organizations he is involved with to share information with those in professional fields who may have interaction with alcoholics. Group Awareness: NP – Sent report that she has gone through the online mtg postings on the Intergroup website and found 5 Dist. 28 mtgs with no GSR. She is trying to attend these mtgs to share announcements about getting these groups voices heard and has asked District members to help. Literature: NP – Sent in the following report: The AA.org website states this Covid crisis is not necessarily new for AA. The Grapevine literature store has eBooks available. To order AA literature online go to https://onlineliterature.aa.org/ or call the Intergroup office to pick up books locally 4. The book Our Great Responsibility was published in May 2019. It was the first new book published by AA in 30 years. It is a collection of A selection of Bill W.’s General Service Conference talks, 1951 – 1970.
Group Report Highlights: GSR for What a Deal – Things going well on Zoom. Will be discussing reopening questions at next group conscience.GSR for Belles of the Bar – Just had group conscience. Had small discussion on reopening that we will look at more on June 25th, their next group conscience. Mtgs will continue on Zoom for now. The Venmo 7th Tradition basket is bringing in more donations than normal in meeting basket so group will continue that. GSR for Simply the Solution – They are still meeting on Zoom with no plans to change yet. Going well.GSR for the Winner’s Circle – They have been meeting via conference call but have had very small attendance. Looking into switching to Zoom to help get more people to attend. GSR for It’s In the Book – They had a quick group conscience the prior week and discussed 7th tradition and supporting all of AA entities. They also discussed group inventory but will approach that again when they can meet in person per state guidelines.GSR for TGIF – They are mtg on Zoom. Attendance small but going well.GSR for Man O’War Live – Mtg on Zoom.
A Few Moments with our Chairperson: A.G. The meeting was closed at 8:10 pm with the Responsibility Statement
Bluegrass Intergroup Steering Committee
Standing Committee Chair
HOSPITALS & INSTITUTIONS