In my earlier working life, I was often asked to make presentations at conferences or give workshops in my areas of expertise, until a health crisis forced me to take leave, pulling me out of my former habits and off the circuit. During my convalescence, Higher Power led me to the rooms of OA.
Recently, though, I got an out-of-the-blue e-mail to speak to a professional group I’d never heard of. Someone I’d briefly met and hardly knew had recommended me. I felt a great deal of excitement. I was back!
The organizer asked about my background. I told her a few things about my training and experience but asked her to keep them strictly confidential because I didn’t want to be seen as anybody special. I just wanted to explore the topic with those present. At the time, it didn’t occur to me that not wanting to reveal my credentials had marked a change in me, but this morning, the letters B-T-O popped into my mind. I knew I had to include them—not in my talk, but in the Step Four work I am currently doing will be sharing with my sponsor.
When I was a know-it-all teen, my dad would often say in reply to my arrogance, “Oh, yes, you are just one BTO, a big time operator.” Above, you will see I used the word “expertise.” Well, when you have absolutely no self-esteem, when you are withered and afraid inside, sometimes you hide behind a wall of being “the expert,” flaunting your superiority, giving advice to others, and being the know-it-all. Back then, I thought I only had value when I was better than others. I was often presumptuous and disrespectful.
This time, though, a voice was lurking in my head, asking, “What do I have to say to this group that they don’t already know? I probably have more to learn from the participants’ knowledge and experience than anything I might offer.” I was so not back. (We make judgments and God laughs.) I would sit to jot down ideas about the topic, but they were few and far between. I was experiencing writer’s block, which was unusual for me, and the deadline was looming.
Then, after leaving an OA meeting yesterday, ideas suddenly started to flow and flow and flow. A structure and theme showed up, and I filled pages. There were multiple choices for activities and anecdotes both touching and humorous. I knew this creativity was arising because I had admitted my powerlessness over my assignment. I had prayed many times for God to give me the words I would need, God’s words, and miracle of miracles . . .
I‘m feeling so close to our Traditions right now because they help us go out in to the world and live by the Principles of our program.
I’ve known in my heart that God’s delays are not God’s denials. I haven’t become impatient or stressed. I will attend as I am. I will let Higher Power take over the words, sharing how things were for me, how they’ve changed, and why I have hope about the presentation topic. I am part of a minority of people who enjoy speaking in public. I will bring forth this gift, which Higher Power has blessed me with, to connect with others. It will help me make progress, moving from a life of no self-esteem to a deep belief that God doesn’t make junk and has a plan for me in my life.
I’m feeling so close to our Traditions right now because they help us go out into the world and live by the Principles of our program. It is wonderful to know that each of this group’s participants has a Higher Power of their own understanding working within them. I will make space for others to share because they all have their own stories and wisdom to be passed along. We will all be in service to each other, companions on the journey.
I’ve made so many changes in my life, but there’s one that excites me the most. Each morning in my prayers, I ask Higher Power to help me be teachable, and it looks like this former BTO is making progress to become an LLL, a lifelong learner. I am not who I was, I don’t know who I am becoming, and I can rest in the presence of God’s will for my life.
Thank you, fellows on the road to recovery, because it is only together that we get better. Blessings to all.