…At my darkest moment, I was sent an Angel named Bruce. I’ve been sober for some time now and have seen lots of strange and unusual things in AA. Throughout my sobriety I have tried to keep an open mind and remain ready for change. In 1998, as I was coming up on my 20th sobriety anniversary, I began to become cynical regarding the state of affairs inside the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. I was seeing things in AA that were just plan making me angry. I had become a Bleeding Deacon. Many members in our fellowship were working steps beyond the suggested twelve, trusted servants began to take money for service, new-comers were chairing meetings, old timers were squatting in service positions disregarding the spirit of rotation, new-comers were sponsoring other new-comers, more money was spent on travel than on carrying the message, others took service positions without performing service, trusted servants were getting drunk, AA groups were permanently closing throughout the valley, men were sponsoring women, women were sponsoring men, and dogs were sponsoring cats. I could continue my personal inventory of the fellowship, but I think you can get the idea of where my head was going and who had taken charge. The feeling kept growing that the AA I had joined so many years ago is not the AA I was a member of now. The results of my harsh inventory was the fellowship had dramatically change and not for the better. So on May 22, 1998, the very day of my 20th AA birthday I decided to quit AA. Yes, my twentieth anniversary was the day I QUIT AA! As it turns out, that was also the day of my favorite meeting, the Friday Night Candle Light meeting at the Alano Club. So I had to alter my plans a bit and delay my departure from AA by a few hours. I had no clue what that decision was going to bring. I have heard it said often, “That if you want to make God laugh, just tell Him your plans.” My new plan was to QUIT AA immediately after the Friday Night meeting. That night, my good friend Bruce was chairing the meeting. I let it slip out that it was my 20th AA birthday. Bruce said, “Congratulations! Tomorrow I’m the secretary of the Saturday Beginners meeting, and it would mean a lot to me if you would come so I could present you with your 20th anniversary chip.” Now, this really put me between a rock and a hard place. I could not find the words to tell Bruce that as soon as the Friday Night Candle Light meeting was over, I was quitting AA, thus would not be able to attend the Saturday Beginner’s meeting. I just couldn’t tell Bruce. So I agreed to make one last meeting. The next day, I made the Saturday Beginners meeting at the Alano Club and Bruce gave me my 20 year (XX) chip. He also gave me a big hug and asked me to keep coming back. He also asked me to take a moment and tell the group how I had done it. I began to share in a general way, what it was like, what happened (choking by this time) and what it is like now (beaming with gratitude). Because it was a beginners meeting, I closed by inviting the new comers to come back again next week. As it turned out, Bruce had put me in a position where I had to administer my own medicine. Here I was, the one who quit AA, asking others to keep coming back. Here was irony in sobriety. I never actually un-quit AA since I never got around to telling anyone that I had quit. I just simply never went away. Thanks Bruce.