Tuesday, December 11, 2012


I sat in a meeting two weeks ago, the place was packed, and we passed around something called an "Eternity Medallion", and reflected on the life of a man named Stan. Stan had died the day before. Stan had 34 years of being clean and sober. Stan could be found at meetings five days a week. He was 58--that's old by NA standards-- but much beloved by the young folks in the group, who respected his quiet example.

Not that Stan didn't talk much, he just didn't use too many words. If you were to see Stan at the grocery store, you would likely look right past him. He had a kind, weathered face, I never saw him wear anything but a t-shirt, or maybe an old flannel in the winter; jeans, splattered with paint or drywall putty; and a well worn pair of work boots. Stan ran his handyman operation out of the back of a beat up old pickup truck. he got by, most months, other months were probably more difficult.

 I’ll never forget when I was about 3 weeks in the program and he shared at a meeting:
“If you are new here, and you don’t know anybody yet, just come after the meeting and stick your hand out and say “h-h-h-h-ello”…we won’t bite you or nuthin’” and he was lookin’ right at me with that kind kind face when he said it.
I’ll just never forget it.
Because I didn't know anybody yet.

There was a young girl that shared as we passed the medallion. Seems she ran into Stan down at the corner grocery one time and she was Hi-Hi-High, and he said to her "Aren't you in the wrong place?" and he hugged her. A week later, she came back to the group, and he saw her and he said "Are you sure this is where you should be?" and he hugged her, Through tears, she said she never went and got high again after that.

Stan was an old timer in the program who had learned to stay clean "no matter what". And his soft example touched many lives.
And as we passed the medallion around, I looked at it and it had some words on the back:
and for a moment I realized that Stan was immortal. He had died clean, and that is what the Eternity Medallion is about.

The words on the medallion, I looked up later. They come from a prayer in the program that goes like this:
"My Gratitude speaks when I care and share the NA way; that no addict seeking recovery need ever die from the horrors of addiction"
Its called "The Gratitude Prayer.

I want you to know, at the memorial the next Sunday for Stan, this nondescript man who worked so hard, and barely stayed one step ahead of living out of his truck, at that memorial you would have thought Stan was a Senator, or a Mayor, or somebody...
But the program, its based on attraction rather than promotion.
There were more than 400 people there.
Stan, old Stan, he had touched a lot of lives.


red dirt girl said...

beautiful .... all of it.


bulletholes said...

You should have seen it Red.
i didn't know it, but Stan was my Great-Grand-Sponsor...that is to say he was my sponsors sponsors sponsor.
Makes you wonder just how many great grandkids he might have.
400 apparently, that we know about!

Fisseha Asmerom said...


I am in the process of updating the website for westsidena.org. As I looked for images of eternity medallions to add to our new site, I came across this post.

I am sitting in the library and found myself fighting back tears. This is why we stay clean! I may not have much, but I hope to have a funeral like Stan's. I hope people say that that he was a good man and he died CLEAN.


bulletholes said...

Fissheha, yes, they say more than that. He is a icon for our group, and people still miss him and talk about him. it wasnt until later that I found out that he was my great grandsponsor. i guess he was just about EVERYONES great grand something!

bulletholes said...

Oh, and thanks so much for stopping by...best comment I've had in a long time.