“There are sparkles in your eyes. You must’ve have been to a meeting.” So said my co-worker who worked alongside me in a busy, bustling office. She had 9 months on the Program. I had Denial. I had not stopped drinking and lived in a grease pit of despair with no footholds or handholds to grasp onto. What I clung to, was the value of meetings where I knew I would feel “less bad.” With all the pains of a newcomer, “less bad” still sounded like a step up. Sometimes, later in the afternoon she’d sidle up to me again, gaze into my eyes and say, “The sparkles are gone. You need to get to another meeting.”
Sparkles are defined as bright moving points of light. In AA literature the image of light is found frequently. “Darkness into light.” “Light and new confidence.” Indeed, “frequent contact with newcomers and with each other is the bright spot in our lives.” We are like bright moving points of light for one another.
Some years and sobriety later, thanks to researching this “light observation,” I sense the sparkles. The sparkles in my eyes as well as in others. They come from meetings. They come from connection with my fellow alcoholics.
When the sparkles leave my eyes, I know it’s time to refill the spiritual tank. A spiritual light tank, if you will – rather like a lighthouse. Time to take out the Spiritual Windex and clean the windows so the light and sparkles can shine forth for the next wayfarer to avoid life’s rocks; to stay in life’s shipping lanes.
When my chaotic life gets put on hold – if only for an hour - that hour provides an oasis for the needed pause for perspective to “regard things in a different light.” Funny how once my ears were opened, I could see. “The problem for us is to discover a chink in the walls the ego has built, through which the light of reason can shine.”
In early days, I remember romancing drinking again, ruminating this with my sponsor. Thankfully, my sponsor got a-hold of me like an errant puppy and took me outside the meeting room. She shook me awake saying, “Before you take that drink, try phoning up your friend who went out last week. Give a call and find out how fantastic it feels to go out. Ask how wonderful the experience to raise her hand as a newcomer for another 30 days.”
She hotly added I was a garden variety drunk. No greater or less than anyone else in the room. I was instructed to: “Call a newcomer and have the privilege of listening to someone else for a while.” Have the privilege of listening to someone else for a while.
The penny dropped. And so did my ego. Ego deflation, ego puncturing, with every Step one more veil is taken away. As Bill W. said, “the scales of judgment fell from my eyes.” Scales of judgment blind me to what is the Truth and “shut me off from the sunlight of the Spirit.”
Our 11th Step Prayer reads, “Where there are shadows, I may bring light.” Like sticks need one another to create flame - we need one another to channel light. As one person phrased it, “I didn’t catch alcoholism. Alcoholism caught me. I caught it from coming to meetings.” With every meeting, “a new light falls into the dark world of the alcoholic.” And fills our eyes with sparkles.
Authored for The Point October, 2021 Edition. https://aasfmarin.org/sparkles-in-your-eyes