AA Convention Part 2 – The Chance Encounter

I always find it interesting how God works in so many mysterious ways. Being at a 65,000+ attended AA convention, I’m sure you’d probably agree that it would be next to impossible to run into the one person I was most afraid to see. But God saw fit to do just that on the second day I was there in downtown Atlanta, amongst thousands of other people.

If you read the entry I wrote a few weeks ago about the two fears (https://thetwelfthstep.com/2015/06/23/two-fears-about-the-upcoming-2015-aa-international-convention/) I had in going to this convention, then you already know whom I’m talking about. But for those who didn’t, I speaking of the closest friend I’ve ever had in life, the same one who was originally meant to attend this convention with me.

When I moved away from Massachusetts, he didn’t handle it so well, and within a few months began to pull away and distance himself from our long-standing friendship. Eventually, he stopped staying in touch altogether and opted to attend the convention with some other friends instead. At first I became angry, but eventually was able to let it go when I realized it wasn’t because of anything I did, as it was something he had to resolve within himself. Little did I know that God was going to have all that take place during a very heavily attended AA convention in downtown Atlanta, Georgia?

On the day this actually happened, I was with my traveling companion, a woman from my recovery life back in the Boston area. We had planned on attending an afternoon meeting together, but were unable to do so when we discovered each of the ones we tried to get into were completely full. As an alternative, we ended up walking around Centennial Park for a short bit of time, and then decided to find a place to get a coffee. After taking a few random lefts and rights through the park, we went up the street a few blocks and were about to cross a very busy intersection when lo and behold, the one person I was so afraid to see, was on the other side waiting to cross himself. I immediately pulled out my phone, pretending I was doing something really important on it, deeply hoping he didn’t see me. But he did, and he waited patiently for us to cross and then hugged my recovery friend from Boston and then me.

I think it’d be safe to say that my ego really didn’t want to give him that hug. But thankfully I live by a much Higher Calling these days, because after I did, it was agreed we should sit down and talk. Ironically, the first thing he told me was how he suddenly had felt the urge to break away form the conference himself and head out in the random direction he did, which is precisely what put him on the path that intersected my own. After the hour and a half discussion between us flew by, the nine months that had passed without any contact from him seemed to melt away. He made his amends and told me how hard it’s been on him not having me close by anymore. He explained that his pulling back was the only way he knew how to deal with his abandonment issues and said that’s why he choose to room with others at the convention. He even paid off an old debt he owed me that I thought he had totally forgotten about.

That night we attended the huge meeting in the Georgia Dome together and it was like no time had ever passed at all. Even better, the next day the two of us headed out of town to a meeting about 20 miles away in Sandy Springs. There, we shared a small breakfast beforehand, felt spiritually inspired at the 8111 Clubhouse during the actual meeting, and then he took me to a late lunch at a place in Little Five Points, where it was just like old times between us. Later that evening, we attended the big meeting in the Dome again and it was there he gave me a very special 20-year medallion that I know was a true unconditionally loving gesture from his heart. When the meeting was over, we shared a long hug together and he promised he’d make a much greater effort to start reconnecting with me on a regular basis.

While I honestly don’t know whether that will end up being true or not in the long run, I must say that I feel a sense of peace in my heart now, where all that fear formerly was. I understand my friend so much greater now and truly was able to see his pain and abandonment issues he still has to face in life. Whether he works through them or not is up to him and God, but I’m still extremely grateful to my Higher Power for the chance encounter that led to such a peaceful and serene resolution…

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson