The Legend Passes

The Legend Passes

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At some point in 2011 I remember hearing about this fellow named David who was sober 25 years and could quote the Big Book, chapter and verse, and worked with a bunch of people as a counselor and as a sponsor. I got online and found a website where I could purchase old recordings from past SA conventions.

I found a recording of a David without knowing what his last initial was and hoped I had the right guy. I had no idea whom I had gotten hold of, but it turned out to be nearly six hours of David when he was 13 years sober, sharing his SA story and all the daily routines and tools he used for sobriety. I had no idea there were so many things I could be doing! I started reading daily and using his prayers and hitting my knees in the morning. I didn’t get sober for about another year but the seeds were planted.

The first time I met David was at the Friday night Vancouver meeting in 2012. I had heard about him and listened to recordings of him, but had never seen him or even knew what he looked like. I certainly didn’t know that he rarely (almost never) attended that meeting, but he was there that night. It was one of the first times I attended the meeting. I had been around SA for about 2 years at that time, but had not attended very many face to face meetings as my primary introduction had been through phone meetings.

I came in late and there was only one seat left and it was the seat at the right hand of David. I have no recollection of the meeting or what was shared, but I know I didn’t share. What I do remember was holding hands at the end of the meeting and saying the closing prayer. Immediately after the “It works if you work it so work it cuz you’re worth it”, David turned to me and said, “You’ll get more out of the meeting if you share.” Those were the first words he spoke to me.

Fast forward a year and I was at a Saturday morning meeting the day before my wedding. I was just over a month sober and shared about getting married the next day. David came up to me after the meeting and said in a sing-song voice, “You’re gettin’ married and yooooo’re terrified” he gave me a hug and told me, “It’ll be okaaaaay.” Over the next several years I saw David regularly in his counseling capacity and he taught me many things that I still use to this day.

Fast forward another three years and our first daughter was born. Shortly after that, my sponsor relapsed and I remember feeling so hurt and distraught and then walking up the hill through the woods and leaving a message with David asking him if he would be my sponsor. He responded later that day and said he would be happy to. That was in the fall of 2019. Sometime in 2018 I had started a meeting in my hometown and David drove an hour south to come and meet with the elders in the church and talk about SA. I was amazed he came down and was extremely grateful to have his support and calming presence during the meeting.

David had liver cancer for the entirety of the time we were working together. He was so far beyond what the doctor’s had seen with this cancer that they really had no idea how long he would last. In the last week of his life he took a turn for the worse and missed his home group several times due to severe abdominal pain and nausea. He still picked up for me nearly every day. I called him almost every day for the last four years. We probably spoke about 12-1300 times on the phone for a total of hundreds of hours.

In general, I’m really quite poor at showing affection and appreciation, but commented to him once on his sobriety birthday that I felt he had personally had the single greatest impact on my life apart from my parents and possibly my wife. I literally use things he taught me every day and frequently pass them on to others.

He had become like a father to me. His quiet, calm presence in our home group always helped me settle down when I joined the meeting. Several of the people I sponsor in Egypt refer to him as The Legend. “David, oh yes, he’s the Legend.” One day, I told David this and he laughed and said something about as long as HE didn’t start to think it, that was fine.

Some weeks before his passing away we had a Gratitude Meeting for David and people from SA all over the world joined to share their appreciation and gratitude for the impact that David had on their lives. This was an incredibly special event for me and it was a beautiful outpouring of love for a man who has toiled and worked so long and hard in the service of SA, in service of his fellows and, most importantly, of the God of his understanding.

A recording was made of the meeting, but what is missed is the expressions of love on the faces of those attending and the frequent bouts of laughter as well as tears from David and all those in attendance. Over and over David would put his hands together and give a slight nod of thanks with tears in his eyes.

I cannot express the sadness in my heart for the loss of this great man who meant so much to me and so many others. We are forever changed by having had him in our lives and he will live on in the quotes and love that we pass on because it was first shown and given to us.

The greatest gift I can give David today is the attempt to live a life worthy of the time and love that he so freely gave me (10 minutes at a time usually, lol). When I have trying sponsees I bring to mind the time he spent with me and the tolerance with which he spoke of people who caused difficulty in the fellowship.

One of the last times we spoke he joked with me that I could try masturbating while I walked home if I wanted some new routines. He said he wouldn’t recommend it, but it would be something different. He totally caught me off guard; he had a way of cracking jokes like that.

The very last time we spoke he said, “Thank you for all that you’ve done and let’s talk some more soon.” David, thank you, I love you and Godspeed.

Luke H., Oregon, USA

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