I recently attended a 12 Step recovery meeting in Spanish. Initially, I considered leaving out of sheer frustration. I was almost angry that I wouldn’t get to hear the message I needed. I was preoccupied with self and inconvenience. Then, I started to think about how difficult it would be if the situation was reversed.
I could not even fathom how hard it would be to try to get sober in a place where I could not speak the language.
I began to listen with an open heart. While I didn’t understand every word, I could feel the sentiment. I could grasp the desperation of “what they were like.” I sensed the hope they found in “what happened.” And I knew intuitively “what they were like now” as they spoke of their connection with a Power Greater than themselves. I got exactly the message I needed.
“El alcoholismo es permanente, progresivo y fatal, no importa qué la lengua una habla.”
Recovery doesn’t just come in English. Recovery is a universal language of the heart; and it is more powerful than I can ever hope to understand.
I am them.
They are we.