Carla is one of the best women AA speakers from the podium. She has an engaging delivery and recounts a powerful story of overcoming alcoholism and moving in to a new life in recovery. She talks about how a Higher Power played a critical role in this transformation.
Hope and a prayer
I have to live out of my comfort zone. Today, I have to live where I’m uncertain. I have to live in the unknown. I have to be peaceful with the unpeaceful, you know? Now I’m getting to like it though. I made that first round of amends to my family, and you know, to this day there is not one member of my family who’ll stand in the doorway and say, “No, please don’t go to the meeting!” They NEVER, EVER say that! I was going to two and three meetings a day for the first couple of years and I think I needed every one of those meetings. I was always in one at noon and a couple at night. I was trying to raise this kid and I was paying rent for more than a month in a row. I was also going to work. I began to sponsor other women and it helped me so much. Even though I was busy, it was amazing. I would look at their eyes, because its in your eyes I see redemption, I see forgive-ability, and I see lovability. I see hope and growth where I don’t always see it myself, and when the light comes on in your eyes, it burns brighter in me. I’m one of those big believers that you’ve got to give it away to get it. I hope that you stay long enough to experience that because there is no way you can get it by listening to somebody else. You can get hope from listening, but this is an experience you must not miss.
When I was newly sober, I remember my twelve year old daughter coming home at all hours of the night beat up and bloody. She’d been jumped into a gang and started to find a sense of family and camaraderie out in the street, where I used to. It was time to get worried. You know, I was busy being wonderful in Alcoholics Anonymous! You know two and three meetings a day, and you know page nineteen. Yep, page nineteen, right up front it says that a more important demonstration of our principles happens in our homes occupations and affairs. It basically says that if I’m only doing it in these rooms, I’m only half doing it. So it was time for me to stop going to two and three meetings a day, and be a mom to that kid. By that time she needed a little bit bigger help, so I had to put her in a treatment center for a while. Thank God there was a place for her in there. I thank God too that I was able to show up for that. That experience was for me to offer her that relationship if she wanted it. We went through a lot of bumps and went through a lot. I had become the very parent I said I’d never be, and maybe worse. You guys taught me how to live with life and resolve problems without having to take a drink to settle it. You guys taught me mountains moved a spoonful at a time. She wanted to go live with her dad for a while, and I had to step back and let her go do that. I have to tell you that AA teaches me how to live with my problems, but it doesn’t remove them. I mean, things happen in life, and things happen to people that never drink. People get sick, people get in wrecks, and people have all this stuff that happens.
So about five years into my sobriety, I come home from the gym one night and I go to bed as usual. I woke up in the middle of the night. There was a man standing over my bed with a knife to my neck and his hand over my mouth and he said, “Don’t say a word or I’ll cut your head off.” He tied my hands behind my back… I want to tell you that at five years sobriety I had a much bigger God than when I got here. I had a certainty with a God, a God that I didn’t understand, a God that I didn’t have to know or be described or or fully defined. There’s a man on my back in the middle of the night, in the middle of my bed, and I’m saying a prayer that if my daughter has to hear some bad news about her mom, please have someone be there with her when she hears it to comfort her…