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March 20, 2006

A Random Act Of Courage

She came into the Alcoholics Anonymous meeting from the back door, slid quietly into a chair at the far end of the room with her head slumped deep between her shoulders.  Her long brown hair flowed down her back from under a sweat stained baseball cap, her demin jacket and blue jeans sagging to match the emotions as if she carried the weight of the world.  She was all of 18 or 19, her name was Rachelle and before she spoke a word everyone knew she was back to begin again, an addict who had spent some more time out in her own heart of darkness. 

As a recovering alcoholic I have never cared much for the phrase “starting over “ when one relapses, believing instead that you actually pick up where you left off; and that all the tools of recovery you gained in previous treatment programs are not only still valid but still knocking around somewhere in the dark recesses of your mind. The topic was the 12th Step and when it came time for Rachel to share she passed as everyone had expected.  But as the sharing went on each person in the room had a least a few words of encouragement or humor for her.  Eventually her shoulders relaxed and at one point I actually saw the hint of a smile move fleetingly across her lips.

By the time the meeting was over the warmth that flowed from the sharing of each circle member had melted the icy fear that had frozen her when she first arrived.  Rachel emerged as the most important person in the room that night, not because she had relapsed and was beginning again but because of the simple brave act of coming back.  An act of humility, an act of selflessness but not of kindness, a reminder to us all that we are only one drink or drug away...a random act of courage.   

March 20, 2006 at 03:16 PM in The Journey | Permalink


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