John Hits The Road…

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I recieved the following email from John Williams, our Alliance Representative, while he was traveling through the beautiful Black Hills…thought it would be fun to share what his “day” looks like. Keep spreading the word!…joan


So I’m finally getting my bearings here in Rapid City. I do have to say that I think the drivers are more aggressive than in Sioux Falls. Or else I’m that annoying tourist that doesn’t know how to drive in their city. Either way, they are not having it. I’ve been honked at, cut off and I’m almost certain someone gave me the finger as they sped past me. Wondering if I should drop a note to the convention and visitor’s bureau and tell them that the drivers have been mean to me.:)

The people, however, have been wonderful. I met with a total of 15 providers yesterday from 6 different agencies in RC and the Southern Hills area. I would say only about 8 of them have heard of us and that was because they were at the SDAAPP conferences where I met them and provided materials. In fact, due to an email miscommunication, one lady from VOA thought my name was John Tallgrass. I thinking of adopting this as my new Native name: John Tallgrass.

On my third attempt, I finally found the Alano club. It was exactly where Bobby said it was, but it’s in a parking lot that looks like a dead end so on my previous attempts I didn’t see the big sign that says: The Alano Society. They actually have their own little restaurant in the building. I made friends with a blind man and the cook and stayed for the 5:30 Happy Hour meeting. Good meeting; nice people.

And since I missed a meeting on Monday night, I decided to make it to another meeting last night. It was called the 12 Step Speaker Meeting at Atonemennt Lutheran Church. The speaker was Jill. I about fell over when she said she had just celebrated 24 years of sobriety. She looked so young. Well, she sobered up when she was 17! She came from a family of drinkers and a year after she sobered up, so did her mom. It was so great to hear her story. I remember what Yoda said during his speech at Summer Sober this past year about how he has a special respect for young people in AA. Jill spoke from the heart and had us all laughing about her escapades in the late eighties. Took me back.

I remember when I first came into AA, I was deeply skeptical of the young ones. I always wondered: how do you know you are an alcoholic/addict, you’re only 17! Over time I realized what it really was: not skepticism, but jealousy of a sort. I thought of all of the years that my addiction robbed me of and how miserable I was for so long and how I just couldn’t surrender: Why couldn’t I get sober sooner?? I look at younger people in the meetings now with a different set of eyes: I realize the courage it must take them to walk through those doors and have gained a true respect for them. I’m looking through my big book now and I can’t find the passage that says that the younger ones ‘could be spared the last 5 to 10 years of hell that us lower bottom drunks had to endure.’ I hope so.

Before I head up to Sturgis and Spearfish this morning, I wondering why it takes a trip to a new city to reawaken my understanding of the depth and reach of Alcoholics Anonymous. Sometimes in the daily grind and the routine of life, I can slip into feeling like my world is so small. Lately, I ‘ve been putting personalities before principles and starting inventory lists for others. (Obviously not working a good program.) But hitting two meetings last night in a foreign city made me realize that there is whole wide world out there, and that I am so fortunate to be in a program that allows me to have friends wherever I travel. Truly amazing.

That’s all for now.


John Williams

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