Wednesday, March 04, 2009
In 1990 I attended the AA World Convention in Seattle. At barely 2 ½ years sober; I was still very rough around the edges. I had only $55.00 to my name, a borrowed room, and no idea of where my next meal was coming. After paying for my convention ticket, I think I had $5.00 left.
I ended up eating in Seattle’s finest restaurants as the guest of fellow AA’s whom I knew from meetings. However, at no time did I know where I would eat next (or when). While riding one of the convention shuttle buses a woman offered me a ticket to the “Intergroup Office Banquet”. This Banquet was in one of Seattle’s finest old hotels and only a stone’s throw from the original “Skid Row” (as was I). I arrived in the only clothes I had; a t-shirt and torn blue jeans. I was the only person in attendance that was not in formal attire (Tie and Jacket). I felt as out of place as I had at my first AA meeting. Even though hungry, I tried to sneak out before being noticed. I had nearly disappeared around a corner, when this older woman motioned to me and said, “Come here Sweetie. You can sit with us!” Hunger prevailed and I was seated at a table near the mid-front of the room.
When the time came to introduce “Notables” in the room; the woman who called herself Nell and invited me to the seat next to her was introduced as Bill W.’s secretary. Also seated at that table were Robert Smith, Jr. (Smitty) and his sister Sue Smith Windows.
I cannot, nor would I ever wish, to forget that incredible experience and the lessons it taught me. Through Nell Wing’s kindness and generosity of spirit, I learned the true meaning of Sponsorship and the maxim; “Whenever, and wherever, anyone reaches out for help; I want the hand of AA to be there! And, for that I AM RESPONSIBLE!” In other words; she saved my life! Today, I consciously look for the fellow at the meeting whose back is against the wall and whose face has that “Newcomer look” (like a dog’s on the freeway during rush-hour). Nell taught me to look beyond the exterior and to do that which the Old-timers did for me. I have been rewarded beyond any quid pro quo.
Thank you for sharing Ms. Wing with me and so many others! May God Bless you!
Mark J. Bassett, Esq.
Sober: 3 Nov 1987