I attended a Came to Believe meeting several nights ago. This meeting's format is for a guest speaker to select one story from the booklet of the same name that we read as a group, to give a short lead, then to open the floor for comments.
After the lead, someone shared about his belief that one of his grandparents had helped him get sober, even though that grandparent was not alive at the time. It brought back a memory from my early sobriety, about which I shared later in the meeting.
It was July 1995. I had just under three years of sobriety. I was seeing my therapist, Macron Larks, and dealing with some sexual issues (among other things). I recalled to Mac that after my grandmother—who had died in 1981, 11 years before I stopped drinking—had gotten a drink or two under her belt at family gatherings, she would sometimes start muttering, half under her breath, about a certain unnamed minister she obviously didn't care for at all. Eventually I got the impression—I forget how or where—that there was some kind of sexual abuse involved.
When Mac heard this, he immediately gave me an assignment: to find out all I could about this incident. So I went to my mother's youngest sister, with whom I have always had a close and open relationship. She immediately and without hestitation told me all she knew.
In high school, my grandmother attended a religious boarding school several hundred kilometers from her home. Shortly before graduation, her mother died (her father was already dead) and she returned home to an older sister who was still living in the house they'd grown up in. One night her sister invited their former pastor, who happened to be passing through town, to stay with them. While there, he entered my grandmother's bedroom and sexually molested her. This was all my aunt could tell me.
It just so happened that my sponsor at the time was a minister of the same religious denomination. One of his assignments at the time was curator of the church archives. I decided to go see what more I could find out in these archives about the man who had abused my grandmother. I made an appointment to meet with my sponsor so he could give me a brief orientation as to what was available and how to find things.
My sponsor had absolutely no idea why I was there or what I was looking for. I don't remember everything he told me, but I vividly remember the moment when he went to a set of filing drawers, very similar to a card catalog in a library1. It was a central index to the information contained in the archives. There were several cabinets of drawers, and several drawers per cabinet, each presumably filled with 3 x 5 index cards. There were thousands of cards, perhaps even tens of thousands. Each contained somebody's name, or a topic, or a description of an event. He picked a drawer at random, opened it and pulled out a single card from the middle of the drawer to show me what a typical card contained.
The card he pulled was the one for my grandmother. Since it was my mother's mother, he didn't even recognize that she was related to me until I told him.
I couldn't believe it. It's still unbelievable. When I shared about this in the meeting last week, I got shivers and a large gasp went up from the group. I got shivers again just now, blogging about it.
Do you suppose my Higher Power thought I was on the right track?
1Remember these? They contained drawers full of 3x5 cards, one per book, organized by subject and/or author.