A few moments ago I lost the best friend I ever had, my mentor, sponsor, and spiritual guide; the person who knew me inside and out, understood the back story, had experience with all the characters, and somehow believed that even with all that, that permanent recovery was God’s plan for me. When I said I’d received a crazy phone call from my mother, he knew what I was talking about; he had been on the receiving end of those calls. When I told him I didn’t believe in God, he took me to his cabin and helped me find a Buddhist based, philosophical approach to the steps that I could live with. Everything to Joe was “the most fabulous” thing ever. Joe spent decades of his life taking people through the steps, always helping each of us find a way that we could get through it. He was never dogmatic, was always embracing of wholeness and unity and inclusiveness. He was the most loving, most optimistic, most positive person I have ever known. His absence leaves a hole in my heart that goes all the way to China.
You can read his extraordinary memoirs in The Lover and the Madman.