A Disease of PerceptionMarch 3, 2022
Step Three DecisionMarch 3, 2022
In 1986 I was alone for a few days in a cheap hotel in Detroit. I’d been betrayed and was despondent, distrustful, and depressed. Looking through my luggage I realized I’d forgotten to pack, of all things, a toothbrush. No problem, I thought. There was a drugstore on the corner. But upon entering it, I learned that Michigan drugstores double as liquor stores.
I was 1½ years sober but not yet far enough into the last few of the 12 Steps. So, I found myself staring at a wall of old friends and asking myself that too-often fatal question, “Who’s to know?” I contemplated drinking for a couple days, sobering up, and not telling anyone about it.
My quit quandary was broken by someone loudly arguing with the pharmacist about refilling a mood-altering drug before the refill date. This brought me back to reality. I grabbed a toothbrush, paid quickly, and got out of there.
A week later I thought Cleveland’s Central Bulletin might be interested in this story, so I wrote it up. The editor, Imogene Z., told me she loved it and she published it. In that process, the Central Bulletin became our Central Bulletin, or even my Central Bulletin.
Years later I wrote a couple of articles for the AA Grapevine and got two of the nicest, sweetest letters of rejection that it has been my pleasure to receive. The articles I submitted were on a service topic, and I knew Grapevine articles were mostly about Recovery topics, so I was not too surprised.
My third article was on recovery. It was not only published but was the one article in that issue which the editors chose to have an actor read and to make available as an MP3. And thus, the Grapevine became my Grapevine.
Years later, the publication asked me for another copyright release. I thanked them but said I hadn’t sent them an article recently. They replied with the title of the second rejected article and said they wanted to add it to the “web exclusives”—articles published online but not printed. Part of the rejection had said, “We will keep this on file.” It was true!
Throughout my service commitments, I’ve had small parts in many other AA publications. And each one makes me feel a part of it and AA. These are opportunities you should not miss. Not good at spelling or grammar? That’s fine. We have great editors. Where might you start? Perhaps start like I did—The Central Bulletin.
By Bob M.