(from Essay February 2019)

Harvey was in the right place

My wife and I were asked to give a SA/S-Anon workshop in Toronto.  We planned a vacation around this trip, including driving to St. Louis from Nashville and then continue the drive to Toronto via Niagara Falls.  This was a bit optimistic for a 79 year old man, but sanity has not been one of my stronger qualities!

It was a 1 1/2 day drive from St. Louis to Toronto. We checked into the hotel in Toronto and contacted the SA workshop representative.  I sat down to meditate and realized I was having chest pain. How could this be happening to me?? God had sent me to Toronto to help suffering sexaholics.  I knew what chest pain meant medically since I have gone through this before. How could I disappoint so many people? The pain persisted. Finally I said, “Nancy, we have to leave Toronto immediate and go to Buffalo. Our health insurance will only cover costs in the USA.” She had just unpacked our suitcases while I was meditating.  Within minutes she repacked and we went to Buffalo.

In the car I called Dave H from the Nashville area.  “Dave, do you have a passport ready?” “Yes,” he said.  “Can you take Friday off from work?” “Yes,” he said again.  “I am heading to a hospital in Buffalo. Please fly to Toronto to substitute for me.”  Thank goodness, his response was “OK.” What a relief to know the Canadians would still have a workshop given by a person with over 30 years of sobriety.

On the drive to Buffalo I kept moaning how I could be so wrong to think God was keeping me well and healthy so I could pass the message of SA to people in Toronto? I was disappointed in myself and in God that He was not extending my health so that I could help others.

We arrived at the hospital and  the next day I had three stents placed in my carotid artery.  After the procedure, an employee of the hospital told my wife and me that perhaps their spouse was having an internet affair with someone from their past.

Naturally, the employee told us this only after we had shared that we had been on our way to an SA/S-Anon workshop.  The employee said that with their spouse’s permission they were checking their spouse’s email and FaceBook page.

The next day, as I was being discharged, the employee came by my room to say goodbye.  I said, with my wife in the room, “I am going to say something that is probably inappropriate—stop checking your spouse’s personal pages.  You will know if your spouse is having an affair eventually, but checking will only cause more division between you two. I have a feeling that this has been a pattern of yours since childhood.”  The employee appeared shocked and amazed and then shared the trauma being experienced in the family.

At that point, my wife and I had a SA/S-Anon 12 step mini-meeting with the employee.   During this time while we all were speaking my phone rang. A member in Iran was asking me to do a Skype workshop for their group in Iran.  The employee left and I took the call.

Then my awakening happened.  I had it all wrong! God’s will for me to do SA service work was not in Toronto.  I was to be in Buffalo to help this employee in such pain. God’s will was not for me to help a predominantly Christian and Jewish group of people in Toronto.  God’s will was to help a group of Muslims on the other side of the world.

I realized that I had used my teacup sized brain to figure out such an awesome power. How humble I felt at that moment.  Yes, I thought I should be in Toronto and I really was exactly where I was supposed to be in Buffalo, NY. Where ever we go, there we are bringing the joy of our SA recovery to others.We will always be taken to the exact place where we are supposed to be.

Harvey A., Tennessee, USA