Fellowship Across The Miles

Greetings all,

My name is Dave and I am a grateful member of Alcoholics Anonymous.  I live in Kansas, USA. I’m writing this story to share with you how one person’s kind words led me 4,000 miles to Scotland not once, but twice.

The day was January 3, 2014, my 25th AA birthday.  I received a message on a Bill W. Facebook page that said “congratulations on your 25 years from Glasgow, Scotland.”   I was blown away that someone so far away had messaged me. I thanked this wonderful lady and not long after that day we became Facebook friends. As social media works, I started becoming friends with her friends, and hers with mine. About two years later some of my new Scottish friends mentioned that I should come over for a visit. By then, the chain reaction of friends had reached not only Scotland, but Ireland and England as well.  I wanted to plan a trip to incorporate all three countries, but time wise it couldn’t be done.

Finally, on June 2, 2017, three years after the initial congratulatory message, I stepped foot on Scottish soil.  That day would change my life and my recovery forever. I was picked up at the airport and taken to a pizza restaurant where about a dozen members had a ‘welcome to Scotland’ gathering for me.

Before I came over, one of my friends had asked me to share at their group.  I was in for quite the surprise that Tuesday morning at Yoker’s. I had been informed of the format of the meetings in Scotland, but to experience it was something I’ll never forget. I loved how after the speaker shares, you take an intermission for sandwiches or snacks, coffee and tea. Absolutely brilliant.  At Yoker’s, I got to meet members I had been online friends with for the past three years. It was an incredible experience to finally meet everyone face to face. Besides Yoker’s, I also went to meetings at Drum Chapel, Clydebank and Dumbarton. Each group had their own special uniqueness that I’ll never forget. The 12 Steps poster at Dumbarton, which I believe came from New Zealand, was definitely my favorite.  I ended up staying in Glasgow for nine days.

Scotland found me again in 2018.  I was attending Founder’s Day in Akron, Ohio, USA and was visiting the AA Central Office and archives, picking up some souvenirs. I was talking to the office manager about the previous year’s adventure to Scotland.  I ended up returning the next day and the office manager said “I’m so glad to see you! There are some people here I think you’d like to meet,” and then introduced me to three women visiting from Forfar, Aberdeen, and Stonehaven. We ended up spending the next four or five days together and became good friends.  One of my favorite moments in my 30 years of recovery is the four of us sitting in Dr. Bob’s kitchen, enjoying a cup where it all began.

I went back to Scotland in the summer of 2019.  I arrived July 19, 2019, and stayed in eastern Scotland for the first five days so I could visit with my friends from Founder’s Day.  On day two we went to a meeting in Brechin.  As soon as I was introduced to the chairperson, he asked if I’d like to share.  I happily obliged.  Even after all these years, I still get nervous when I share, but fortunately there were only five minutes until the meeting began so I didn’t have enough time to get nervous.  It went well; I met some great people and made even more friends.  My time in Brechin set the stage for what was next to come.

After five wonderful days of seeing the sights and attending meetings in Scotland, I flew over to Dublin for another five days.  It was my second visit there and I was fortunate enough to not only attend, but share during meetings at The Crypt.  I highly recommend attending a meeting there, it was an amazing experience.  I was fortunate enough to spend my time in Ireland with the friends I had made over the years.

I returned to Glasgow on Sunday, July 28th.  Because of some scheduling conflicts, Monday, the 29th, became one of the most amazing days ever.  I was going to share at two different groups on the same day.  First was Chancellor Street at noon.  Wow!  What a crowd.  It was a great meeting and I loved all the people I met.  Later that day I received a message from a young lady that heard me share at Chancellor Street.  She told me she knew I was sharing at Emotional Sobriety in Yoker’s later that night, but she had a prior commitment and wouldn’t be able to make it.  I asked if she knew I would be at Chancellor Street or if it was just a coincidence.  She said it was purely coincidental.  Just like meeting my three Scottish friends at Founder’s Day, I call it God’s perfect timing, and a perfect example of the awesomeness of this program.

That evening I went to Emotional Sobriety at Yoker’s at 7:30pm.  When I was asked to share, I didn’t really know what emotional sobriety was about, but I will say that I get emotional when I share.  I laugh, I cry, I put it all out on the table.  The room was full and the table seemed very near to the body of people.  I loved the closeness I felt that night.  The next day I received a message from someone who had attended the meeting the night before, thanking me for a heartfelt share at Yoker’s, though I am the one truly thankful for the experience.

I cannot express my gratitude and love for this program, the friends I’ve made, the opportunity to visit your beautiful land, and all the people I’ve met over there.  They showed me a world I didn’t know existed, all because one person congratulated me on my sobriety.  LC, I love you and am so thankful for all the opportunities I’ve had since you opened the door.  I am eternally grateful for your friendship.  I thank God for AA.

 

Peace in the fellowship,

Dave C.