Being a holiday, my phone was less handy than usual, but I checked it semi-regularly to keep up with my extended AA family -- thus, when one sponsee texted that they were having a rough time with family and partner, I didn't see it for a short while.
Before I had a chance to respond they texted me this:
Sorry. I feel like I shouldn't have sent that. Although I'm about to have a meltdown. Sorry.
I reread what they'd written above their apology, and thought about how, for all the healing in our lives, sometimes the holidays can seriously sucker punch you. Then I told God, The Universe or The Great Whatever, "Okay, buddy, that's your cue. You're on..." and started texting. This is what I sent back:
Hey now, please never feel like you have to apologize for sharing with me how you're doing. Holidays are often supercharged, weirdly emotional, history-laden things. And apparently the recipe of our lives calls for a little salt in with the sugar. And we know in our hearts that God's in the kitchen, mixing up just the most fabulous things for us but in our heads sometimes it's hard -- especially on days like today -- to remember that. To believe that. So give yourself a hug and be gentle with yourself first, and then if there's a little gentle left to spare (and I'm sure there will be) be gentle with those around you. But mostly be gentle with yourself. Your life is so different now, you've changed so much... in so many ways the healthy things in our lives can still seem weirdly alien and uncomfortable. When we lose our spiritual equilibrium human contact can feel like a sharp slap on a sunburn. But the people that trouble us, even our own sensitivity, are gifts. Gifts you've earned. Gifts you've gown into. Loving, healthy gifts you deserve. And I promise everything will be alright. There's just going to be some patches today where you have to reach for that belief again. REMEMBER: You are loved. By God. By me. By a whole bunch of people - families both biological and spiritual. They may be clumsy in how they show it to you, but it's still true. Today will pass, and another one will roll around. You are doing great! Don't pick up the first drink and not only will everything eventually work itself out, it will work out better than we can possibly imagine. We just can't see it from where we're standing right now. Courage. I believe in you.
I know, I know, I can be a rather long winded texter on occasion. Still and all, that's what came out, and when I give God, The Universe or The Great Whatever their cue, I try not to edit too much as it comes through. Not claiming to be a channeller (though that would be So! Cool!) I just mean I trust that the sincere intent to be of service to others can sometimes gift us with the right thing to say at the right time, when needed.
Later on we had the chance to speak properly rather than text, and of course things had improved, because even though when they're bad it never feels like they will, they eventually always do. And of course -- and those of you who are regular Mr. SponsorPants readers will know this part is coming -- it wasn't just my sponsee who needed to hear that on the holiday, it was me, too.
And that, folks, is not just how, but why it works.
If things went a little south for you on the holiday: Courage.
I don't have to have met you to believe in you, since if you are following the principles of the 12 Steps to the best of your ability (even if that "best" feels a little shoddy at the moment) I know you're on the right path, and will do the right thing - and if you don't, well then by God you can clean it up and try to do better on the next pass.
Be gentle with yourself.
Let's all just take it one day at a time, okay?