For more than 18 years the Saturday night 7 pm S.L.A.A. meeting, located at a church on 47th and Brooklyn Avenue in the University District in Seattle, has hosted a speakers meeting on the last Saturday of every month. Over the course of the past decade more and more of the speakers have been NMS men and women. These events are attended by between 75 and 100 people and are open to anyone who wants to attend. It serves as a good venue for a spouse to meet their partner’s recovery community. This meeting is the only “open” meeting in Seattle; all the other meetings are “closed” meetings, only available for people who self-identify as Sex and Love Addicts.
Last night drew another good crowd. The speaker was a man in his late thirties who had blown up his life about two and a half years ago.
In the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book, on pages 83 and 84, reads what is commonly referred to as the “12 promises”. They are a list of 12 gifts you will receive from working a 12 Step recovery program. One of them reads: “No matter how far down the scale you have gone, you can see how your experience can benefit others”. His story started there.
He was drunk, sitting in a dark closet and had a gun in his mouth. That was his bottom. By the grace of God he did not pull the trigger. His wife had just found out that he had been with many prostitutes and in her devastation she had run away. In her hurt and bewildered state she ran to her mother-in laws house and divulged everything she knew. In what I choose to call a “God Shot” moment, his mom had heard me speak years before at a professional conference and she knew exactly where to send her son. Not too long after that day he was in my office.
Over the course of the next two plus years with the help of a wide range of strategies including: a 30 day stay in an inpatient treatment center back east, my on-going NMS men’s group, a sponsor, being of service to others in S.L.A.A., finding a higher power of his own understanding, living with a NMS alumni man and being separated from his wife for 15 months, he was able to stop the behavior, put his life together and repaired his marriage. His story is a true miracle and blessing for sure. The power of his experience, strength and hope left the listeners believing in the power of redemption. He had clearly been moved from shame to grace.