New people in AA lack calluses on their emotions. “Good morning” translates into “what the hell do you mean by that”? Telling the truth, in private, to freshly sober people  is  sponsorship. It is not a pretty site. Due to anonymity, I will use the name of Carl as my sponsor’s name. Carl is a redneck, tobacco chewing dung remover (he cleans septic tanks for a living) a large man who never lost bar fights.

“Dave, you don’t need to talk constantly; ya got to shut up and learn how to listen”; the words hit me hard. He is driving me home after a meeting. “Carl, it’s the way I am”. “And that is crap Mr.”, he replied. He continued, “Your mouth runs like a physic woodpecker with little to no sense”. “Listen, I’m a smart man Carl”. “Oh your a smart man; really Dave”? “Yelling out of the window, “Hey everybody I’ve got the smartest man in the world riding with me”! “That was embarrassing”, I murmured. Turning toward me, speaking in a deep growling tone, “If you want to get sober boy then do as I say”. “OK, I’ll try” I answered.

Pulling into my driveway he shut off the truck and tossed a book at my feet; “Try to pick that up Dave”. Reaching for the book, he grabbed my wrist, “I did not say pick it up I said try to pick it up”. “In this program you DO not try. The choice is simple, get sober or die, and you are going to get sober in spite of yourself. Now, you talk to damn much so take the cotton out of your ears and stuff it in your mouth; have a nice evening, I’ll pick you up tomorrow at six-thirty”.

I did not stop hating that man for nine months. Picking up my nine-month chip at my home group, returning to my chair, another member said, “Congratulations David, you’re getting better; I can now get a word in edgewise”.

The paving on the road to sobriety is broken glass, but walking it beats the alternative. Do not stare at the spot you fell. Triggers from the past influence the way you react to the present. Talk with your thoughts. When you find a bad one, realize it is living rent free in your head. Removing it allows the supportive ones to come forward.