The Hand of SA in the Americas

“Must be nice to go to all those places and have them pay.”

I do hear that said from time to time. First, let me say that I get more out of speaking places than anyone else. I love the chance to share my Experience, Strength, and Hope with others. The support I receive is from groups or SAICO for a first-time visit to strengthen a fellowship. They reimburse me for my travel costs and my hosts take care of my travel, lodging and food.

For my recent trip I left home in Oklahoma and changed planes in Dallas for a midnight arrival in Miami. My plane to the Dominican Republic left at 9:45 a.m. in the morning so I slept in the airport. After arriving at 1:00 p.m. I waited and waited for my ride. It turned out that I was in the International Airport, Punta Cana and they were waiting in the Capital airport…3 hours away! After some calls he arrived about 6:00 p.m. and we started back. It was dark, the van had one headlight, no seatbelt on the passenger side. I prayed a lot.

In the Dominican Republic they are a small group. The SAs do their very best with what they have. My host family were so loving and kind. They gave up their room for me. I got to try some new foods. What good fellowship we had. I can’t tell you how great people were to me. The International Committee paid for my travel there to get the four people started on good footing. My group at home sent literature and chips for them.

Next I flew to Costa Rica for a week. Again I was met with love and everyone offered their best. One member took me to the volcano and on the way stopped for a photo shoot and opened his trunk to a pot of local coffee and tortillas with fried eggs. HP was watching out for me, since my host family did not drink coffee. Such caring. We had nine at that workshop and other times with members for questions, etc.

Bogota was my third week. In both Costa Rica and Colombia the host apartments were in gated communities. I was reminded that prison is also a gated community. Attended three meetings there, met with a group of therapists and talked to residents of a treatment center. Our workshop was all day Friday, all day Saturday and half a day Sunday. Thirty people attended with some flying in from six other Colombian cities.

It is wonderful to share my ESH. It is wonderful to travel and try new things. It is wonderful to feel the love and sharing of fellow members. It is difficult to not know what others are saying or where we are going because I don’t understand the language. It is difficult to be “on call” for three weeks straight. It is difficult when a short walk to them is not for me.

Is it worth it? YES! I am sober because I heard many stories from many people at meetings, retreats, over coffee, conventions, etc. Some of them do not get to hear other SA stories. When there are only four SAs in your country or only one in your city then electronic connections help but do not replace direct sharing. Each of us doing this kind of 12th Step work tell our stories in different ways using different perspectives and with different examples. The same but different. Thanks for letting me be a part of the joys of recovery.

David T., Oklahoma, USA

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