Some Notes from an SA Workshop with Mike C.
He stood in front of the crowd, men, and many wives, and while looking out, he said: "A lot of you won't be here in 20 years".....
...There was a break for dinner, and when he came back afterwards, he said that "during the break, many of you came over to me and complained that when I said that many of you won't be here, I had taken away your hope. "I didn't say that you "can't" be here in 20 years, because if I can be here, so you can too. I only said that many of you "won't" be here. Why? "ARE YOU DONE ACTING OUT??? HAVE YOU FINISHED?! Because if you haven't finished acting out, many of you will leave, and you won't find yourselves back!
He mentioned that if someone has a fall of sorts, they do NOT go back to working steps 4 and 5, etc. A "fall" means that their step #1 is not good. They must go all the way back to #1 (I am powerless over lust, and my life has become unmanageable).
He mentioned about step #3, that he once knew someone that was very strong his group, he was a police lieutenant, and when he would read the 12 steps out loud and got to step #3, and read "the G-d of our understanding...", he would then pound his fist down on the table and yell out, " or the G-d NOT of our understanding"!
He mentioned that he once went to a movie with Harvey, (one of the founders of SA) and suddenly a nude scene came up and he yelled out, "Harvey, why did you bring me here??!!" Harvey said, "well... I just don't look", Mike yelled back, "I DON'T GO!"
He mentioned that one must listen to their sponsors 100%, no matter what! (Ok, if they tell you to jump off of the empire state building you can look for a new sponsor. but otherwise...) He commented that many people will say that, "my sponsor doesn't understand me completely".... They are really looking for excuses to act out, so they argue with the sponsor.
About calling your sponsor when feeling weak he said: You do not "think it through" before making that phone call. Do not depend upon your thinking and try to work it out to decide if you should/shouldn't call your sponsor.... That won't work. You MUST just make the phone call first, and only THEN your thought process will follow suit properly. The order has to be (1) first the call and then (2) your thoughts. If you do this, proper thinking will follow.
He told how once when he was about 13 years sober, he found himself out of the city and there was a "new" S--X place that he never knew of. He wanted to go in... because, "you know, the one's out of the city are probably different, and have things there that I never saw.... I knew I was beginning to lust, i.e. sweaty palms, heart beat picking up. This was before the time of cell phones. I had one quarter in my pocket and I was standing across the street at a restaurant. I was either going to put the quarter in a slot across the street or in the telephone and call a sponsor...... "I called the sponsor and told him everything, and that I wanted to cross the street and go in.... "what should I do?" My sponsor said......"Don't"! So I got in my car a drove home".
Mike C. also said that many people are mostly concerned with their length of sobriety much more so than the "quality" of sobriety. But a sobriety lacking "quality", will not last... Even if the person is so called 'sober' for several years. They will eventually fall. A person can have a long period of sobriety i.e not acting out, however their head is still full of garbage.
After receiving these anecdotes from Moshe, I sent him the notes I had taken in a workshop with Harvey a few months ago (they can be downloaded here). He replied:
Thanks for the "Harvey" transcript. It is very interesting how you pointed out the times that his voice cracked. The same with Mike C. Many times he would choke up. I learned from this that to become sober, we really truly must become religious Jews, i.e. get a heart, and REALLY talk to Hashem! There is no other way. Who knows, maybe this is one of the reasons that Hashem is sending us this illness.