Welcome to another chapter of Grateful Heart Monday, where the focus is always on gratitude to begin the week with, which for today is for a guy who I’ll refer to by his first initial, “D”, who I met quite recently during one of my Toledo downtown jail weekly Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) commitments.
As I mentioned in a previous Grateful Heart Monday, I have plenty of gratitude for the rewarding experience I continue to receive from this weekly commitment, but I never thought that gratitude will spill over beyond the jail walls. What I mean by that is how I received a call a few weeks ago where I couldn’t identify the number. Normally I wouldn’t pick up the phone when that happens because of all those spam calls I seem to receive lately, but in this case for some reason I did. And I’m glad I did because on the other end was “D”, someone I had only gotten to know during two of my weekly meetings at the Toledo jail. As a side note, the population in the area of the jail I work with usually changes from week to week or at least every other week, so I normally don’t get to see the same people whenever I’m there to conduct the AA meeting and “D” was an example of that.
Nevertheless, “D” is a person who is hard to forget. Covered almost entirely from head to toe with tattoos, and I do mean the head as well, because at first I thought he had a short cropped head of black hair until I realized it was a bald head with a number of heavily-inked tattoos. I was quite intimidated by “D” initially, probably because of his silence, demeanor, and appearance. I’ve learned though I shouldn’t ever judge a book by its cover and “D” was definitely an example of that. He made sure to participate in the two meetings I had with him and seemed to hang on every word I spoke. When he asked for my number, I figured he’d be one of those who would simply just toss it in the garbage once he became a free man.
So, when I heard “D” on the other end of the phone and learned he was now in a program of recovery for addiction in Toledo, I was super excited for him. Rarely have I ever seen anyone leave jail and go into a program of recovery under their own volition. But “D” did, and on a particularly challenging day, when he was really questioning his decision to be in this new recovery program, he called solely to open up over the phone about his life with another human being, something he rarely did. After listening, and offering him a little advice, I made sure to let him know how proud I was of him for doing that, for the path he’d taken thus far, and for how far he had come in such short time in his recovery from addiction. Before hanging up, he made sure to thank me for taking his call and I felt really thankful because of it. Fifteen minutes later, I’d receive a text from him where he told me how much I’ve made a difference in his life and how much he respected my recovery. Words couldn’t express how much that meant to be. I’ve had a few more calls since then from “D” and truly hope that he will continue on this path. Only time will tell, but at least for the moment, “D” is on the Highest path he could take and done all the right things that are necessary to be on a healthy path of recovery from addiction.
I’m truly grateful for “D” for the decisions he’s currently making, for breaking through fear and trusting me with personal information, for continuing to show me that my AA work in the Toledo jail is making a difference, and for how much I keep on getting strong reminders of how important it is to keep doing the 12thStep work I do in life each and every week. So, whether “D” knows it or not, he too has made a huge difference in my life as well and I’m very much blessed by having his presence in my life too…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson