Dear ESSAY

It Works — It Really Does

I love how simple this program is. Being someone who overthinks, I start obsessing over what I need to do about this or that. If I make a mistake or don’t do something, I immediately think I’m going off the rails into a relapse. None of that is true. We are practicing 24 hour living. I can start my day over at any time. I can make adjustments to get back on course.

I am also a compulsive overeater. Over the last 3 months I have gained weight. When I shared that with my sponsor, he made some suggestions to get back on course. Nothing drastic. No crash diet or extreme exercise program. Simple changes.

Over the last 3 days, I have missed morning meditation. Again, my brain tells me I’m heading towards a cliff. The solution is simple. Start my day over. Sit down, relax, breathe, read AA 86-88, pray, ask for direction.

I have been skeptical from the beginning about Bill’s instructions for morning meditation. It can’t be that simple, but it really is. And I love the promise he gives us. It’s short but powerful. “It works-it really does.” AA 88

Micheal B., TN, USA

Barney Shared His Life With Us

Our beloved friend and guide, Barney W., has passed on to his reward. He was a founder of SA Pittsburgh who really carried the message while encouraging us in our own journeys to freedom. Barney shared his story and his life with us and our families, and did it in such a way that won him great respect from us, the Central Office staff, and SA’s founder.

Barney’s sobriety date has always been May 3, 1986. He was one of ten clients of a therapist who was using the “Twenty Questions” as a guide working with them in a group. Then he offered them a meeting room and told them to help each other. This building was in the red light district, and after their meeting, the guys would walk each other to their cars so as to safely depart the area. One day the other guys gave Barney the registration fee and plane fare to attend the SA Convention in LA, with the instructions to get all literature he could lay his hands on and all the information about tools to work with. He found out that there was a central office in Simi Valley, and was soon on a first name basis with them.

He agreed to be my sponsor also. He had several men living with him at different times when they lost their homes. When he considered remarrying, he told her about his work, saying she had the right to say no to him, but she had met several of us, and said yes. Throughout the years, Barney maintained his leading sobriety, and every year we had a dinner celebration eating out with him; eventually some of us brought our wives, and one member brought his parents. When Barney’s sponsor left the program, there was no one with more sobriety to be his sponsor – he said we would sponsor each other. Barney was always a humble man and praised those with tech skills who could use a computer. He always had our intergroup office in his house, and had a couple of us as backups in case something happened to him.

Barney had a stroke and had had heart problems for years, but his heart was always big and strong for all of us. He is being sorely missed, but will live on in our hearts.

Larry H., PA, USA

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