From broken shoes to mending hearts

Andy Crooks writing as Andy C
3 min readJul 7, 2022

Gulf Shores, Alabama, has great AA culture.

One meeting and one share stands out in my memory. Harry was his name. He began, “I had a problem. I had a great pair of running shoes; they fit well and were comfortable. Putting them on one morning, I pulled too hard on the tongue, and it broke away. I ruined the shoe, and I was pissed and angry.

“It may seem like a small thing to you, but it was evident that the world was against me, and the day had gone to hell.

“I knew from experience that calling my sponsor always made things better. Don’t misunderstand me; I did not like calling him, but it always worked. I picked my phone up to make the call.

“I thought, what will I say to him? I would tell him my running shoe broke; the tongue pulled out. And what would he reply? He would suggest I get some glue and fix it.

“I put the phone down.

“Just thinking about asking for help calmed me down, and with a calm mind, I could think about the problem differently, and my perspective changed. I saw the situation and the solution.

“Sponsors are great to have around. When I call and ask for help, it works better. And If I call them enough, I don’t even talk with them, and things get better. With enough practice, merely thinking about calling them changes everything.

“God seems to work the same way. When I first came to AA, I was told to pray; whether I believed in God or not, just pray, a lot. And it was like calling my sponsor; things worked out better when I asked God for help. I did not have to like it, or even believe it; I just had to do it.

“And like calling my sponsor, frequent praying and asking for help, gave me practice. Now, many situations arise which put me in mind of my broken shoe. I did not have to talk with my sponsor; I just turned to him mentally and thought about asking for help, and an answer came. So too, with prayer. I can turn to God spiritually and ask for help. With that change in attitude, I have a different perspective and the solution emerges.

“The key is inside. All I had to do was adopt an attitude of ‘asking for help,’ and from that attitude, look at life from a different perspective.

”For running shoes, I think of calling my sponsor; for higher level problems, I think of asking God.

What an outstanding share.

Now when I get upset, I can imagine an old pair of sneakers with a broken tongue. That visual sets the whole solution chain in motion. I acknowledge that I need help; as soon as I adopt this attitude, the problem looks different.

Our Program is impressive; it can work with imaginary sponsors and mythical Gods.

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Andy Crooks writing as Andy C

For Andy C, not drinking was the first spiritual awakening. He’s been blessed with subsequent spiritual awakenings as the results of the 12 steps.