I got sober at a treatment facility in the fall of 1984. A counselor lined me up with Don S, a local AA. He got me to a few meetings and copious phone numbers. He was far too busy to do more at that time.
I looked for an A.A. sponsor just like me but sober. I learned later they don’t come that way. Those that were like me and stayed sober had a spiritual awakening changing their whole attitude and outlook on life.
So I went to my home group secretary and said, “I need a sponsor. Can you find me a sponsor, like maybe you?” Paul was an orthodox rabbi and I an agnostic. I explained my dilemma with him about Step Two and sat down expecting a treatise on the existence of God. He said, “Bob, at this point in your sobriety, all you need to know about God is that when you arise in the morning to shave and glance in the mirror. THAT’S NOT HIM!”
Soon thereafter Paul completed his education and got a job near Pittsburgh. Paul’s sponsor, George H Sr., and I moved him there. I inherited George as my sponsor.
On the way back I was driving the rental truck. George asked me how fast I was driving. I said, “The speedometer says 56.”
“Slow down,” he said, “The speed limit is 55.” I balked, relating that these meters often read high and he retorted, “Let’s take the speedometer’s word for it. Slow down.” I did but thought this new sponsor thing wasn’t going to work out.
George continued, “You may not know God’s will for you but the State of Ohio makes theirs known in numbers this high,” gesturing with his palms a foot apart.
Since then I travel at a speed which may exceed the speed limit but where much more traffic passes me than I pass. I’ve learned to enjoy the ride and not fear consequences. Speeding, I’ve been told, is a form of impatience and impatience is a failure to live life “one day at a time.”
George attended AA conferences and conventions. He dragged me along to Founders’ Day and it took forever to get to registration since he knew every third person on the sidewalk. He encouraged me to get involved in ALL of AA—group, Intergroup and General Service.
I don’t know that George ever formally worked the steps but he lived the steps. I was encouraged to go to all kinds of meetings, speaker, discussion, Big Book, 12 & 12, etc. and did. I felt a need to formally work the steps and did with help from 12 step weekends. And I gained familiarity with the Big Book.
A couple years sober I learned of some major indiscretions by my spouse and was ready to walk out. “Don’t! It’s her turn to be sick,” George said. While we’re now divorced, that happened 15 years later—many of them good years.
As my involvement in general service grew I changed service sponsors. My first was my DCM. When I became a DCM myself he could no longer answer many of my questions, so I latched on to a past delegate. When I became delegate I changed to a former general Manager of GSO, although he prefers the term “mentor.”
I rarely called George these last many-years and when I did it was mostly to just keep in touch. George died on December 5th over 40 years sober and married 62 years. Both Paul and I attended the funeral. He is missed!
By Bob M.