May 28: Care

Topic for the week: Care

I’m Sophie and I’m an alcoholic, here to lead our weekly topic meeting this week.

Thank you all who are here, to listen or share or be of service in anyway here or to another alcoholic or AA group.

Care, in the form of the loving care and loving kindness I’ve found in AA, is our topic this week. But you are of course welcome to share off topic also, the group just asks it be on matters relevant to an AA meeting and sobriety and alcoholism when sharing to the group.

I’m grateful this week to have celebrated a milestone and have been feeling the closeness of all my sponsor’s words and pearls of wisdom.

The idea of taking care of myself or trusting anything to the care of anyone else let alone a god I didn’t believe in, well those were alien concepts prior to being in AA and my sobriety.

A dear lady called Shirley was my sponsor in NZ for 4 years. She was a huge part of our NZ lives and my sobriety journey whilst there. A longtimer who found AA and got sober in her 50’s, found god eight years later on the surgeon’s operating table during her cancer surgery and died over 40 years sober a few months ago age 97 (she always said she didn’t want to live to 100, and I know she was peaceful and ready to be with her loving god and her dear departed husband). She was Kiwi-Nana to my son who was born in NZ. Her granddaughter was my age, born with a Learning Disability and opened my eyes to life as an adult with an LD. I now work with a group of adults with LD’s.

I wanted to share something Shirley talked about, that was a key to her peace and serenity and her long term sobriety. She showed me her god of loving kindness. The loving care of her god was in her veins. She was a living breathing example of turning each day over to the loving care of a loving god. Every day she thanked that loving god for another day of life and she lived it.

I learned so much from Shirley.

I never have known who or what is around the corner and seeing her live in the loving care of her god is one of the most beautiful eye openers for me in my sobriety.

I wonder what kind of loving care or loving kindness or loving god you may have experienced in your sobriety?

AA has pulled me close and wrapped me in the wings of angel’s when times have been bumpy. The little things; an offer of a cup of tea at a meeting, the offer of a chat over coffee afterwards, the phone call midweek, the emails of support or encouragement or thanks, the sharing with my gratitude gals, the demonstration of how a particular principle or step or page or paragraph from the book might help.

The big things; members walking with me through the really bumpy times, the women in my closer circle, the ones who’ve let me stay at their home when I had nowhere safe to be because I was in yet another destructive relationship but this time sober, the ones who’ve been at the end of the phone or email when I’ve really needed that… so many examples of loving kindness along the way.

If you’re out there somewhere in Grow and haven’t yet felt the loving care of AA I encourage you to be brave and reach out either individually or to the group.

I am constantly amazed at the love there is, I just have to remember to turn towards instead of turn away.

Turning has been a theme of my sobriety. Turning towards is my lifeline.

Loving care for me has been about finding the god of my understanding. And I’ve only found that and continue to find it because I’m sober and participating in AA.

Finding the silver linings, continuing to trust god’s got me no matter what, that the care of god will hold me and my needs will always be met no matter what.

Finding god in the detail, those incredible god-incidences.

The times when I’ve looked back and can see the footprints in the sand or feel that loving angel’s wing.

I’ve included below my favourite lines from our AA literature that to me demonstrate the power that loving care has in individual sobriety, the AA 12 Step program and in this incredible fellowship itself.

“Isn’t it true that in all matters touching upon alcohol, each of them has decided to turn his or her life over to the care, protection and guidance of Alcoholics Anonymous?” 12&12 Step Three p.35

“I placed myself unreservedly under His care and direction.” BB Bill’s Story p.13

“the lawyer gave his life to the care and direction of his Creator, and said he was perfectly willing to do anything necessary.” BB A Vision For You p.158

“In fact, the effectiveness of the whole AA program will rest upon how well and how earnestly we have tried to come to “a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood him.”” 12&12 Step Three p.34-35

“If I keep on turning my life and my will over to the care of Something or Somebody else, what will become of me?” 12&12 Step Three p.36

“We usually conclude the period of meditation with a prayer that we be shown all through the day what our next step is to be, that we be given whatever we need to take care of such problems.” BB Into Action p.87

“Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood him.”” 12&12 Step Three

“We asked His protection and care with complete abandon.” BB How It Works p.59

“We believe there isn’t a fellowship on earth which lavishes more devoted care upon it’s individual members; surely there is none which more jealously guards the individual’s right to think, talk and act as he wishes.” 12&12 Tradition One p.129

“Concept XII. The conference shall observe the spirit of AA tradition, taking care that it never becomes the seat of perilous wealth or power, that sufficient operating funds and reserve be its prudent financial principle; that it place none of its members in a position of unqualified authority over others; that it reach all important decisions by discussion, vote, and, wherever possible, by substantial unanimity; that it’s actions be never personally punitive nor an incitement to public controversy; that it never perform acts of government, and that, like the society it serves, it will always remain democratic in thought and action.” BB Appendix, Twelve Concepts short form p.575

Thank you for having me be of service today and this week.

When I got here I was the hole in the doughnut. I trusted enough to copy others in turning my will and life over to the care of god and today, whilst not always easy or smooth, the path lies before me and I get to walk it knowing and feeling I’m cared for and sending that care outwards and onwards to others.

The meeting is now open.


May 21: Making Comparisons

Topic for the week: Making comparisons

I was reading in the book Days of Healing, Days of Joy and came across this quote: “Comparisons are odious.” Comparing ourselves to others is something we start doing at an early age. At school we become accustomed to comparing ourselves to others regarding our academic and sports abilities and as adults advertisers love to have us comparing ourselves to others with regard to our looks, weight, possessions, and much more.

In sobriety we might want to compare our progress with others’ progress; it seems especially easy to fall prey to this in the early stages of getting sober – I know I did. I was newly sober in Miami Beach and would be at a meeting wondering how so-and-so could seem SO together when she or he had the same or even less time in the program than I had! I’d get depressed thinking about this, comparing every facet of their appearance, shares, and AA social life to mine, often finding myself coming up short. I’d talk to my sponsor and she would tell me to stop “shoulding” on myself, e.g., stop telling myself I should be x, I should do y, I should have z. Comparing my journey in sobriety to others’ journeys was a complete waste of time, I eventually came to understand, because their sober journey wasn’t mine (and vice versa), and my life prior to sobriety wasn’t theirs (and vice versa).

We share our experience, strength, and hope because as active alcoholics we did a lot of the same things. But even if we didn’t, we certainly felt a lot of the same feelings, e.g., guilt, remorse, embarrassment, hopelessness, and so on. However, even though we share some of the same experiences and feelings, we still have our own path in sobriety. Getting sober seems to me to be a very personal experience even when it’s done the same way, for example, going to rehab. We can relate to one another’s stories of drinking, getting sober, and working the program of AA because there are similarities, but out journeys are each our own. No one has lived the same life I’ve lived, had the same parents, had exactly the same personal interactions I’ve had, just as I’ve not lived anyone else’s life and therefore can’t know 100% accurately what they’ve been through, what life is like for them now, and how they’re managing their sobriety.

A quote by Theodore Roosevelt is apt: “Comparison is the thief of joy.” I know this is true for me because so often it’s a case of comparing my “insides” with someone else’s “outsides”. Social media is a prime source for this…people posting their best photos, best meals, best holidays, best besties, and on and on….ugh!! I have to remember that even though others have some of the things I’d like to have but don’t, that doesn’t mean I’m any less. I’m okay as I am, right now, and am grateful for what I do have, especially my sobriety. There are those who would give anything to get sober but for whatever reason, they can’t. I’ve been given the best gift anyone like me, i.e., an alcoholic, can be given…truly, I wouldn’t be alive if I had not gotten sober – I’m sure of it!

So, when I start down that road of comparing myself to others I remind myself that I’m sober, I’m healthy, I’m not incarcerated (I could’ve been arrested for any number of things I did while drinking), and I have the love of family and friends (more so since getting sober). I’m extremely fortunate to be where I am considering the life I’ve had and some of the choices I’ve made. And maybe that person I’ve been comparing myself to is also fortunate, or maybe not. Either way, I need to focus on my life, my behavior, my choices, and my attitude. I can live and let live, and leave making comparisons to others as it does me no good.

The meeting is now open. Please share on your experiences of making comparisons. Thank you for letting me share.


May 14: Expectations


Prior to getting sober, I did not even understand that my expectations were causing me harm.  I wanted what I wanted and did not care who or what the consequences were, until I did.  Then the self loathing and the pain of my actions weighed me down so badly, I wanted to die.

AA has taught me that my expectations, when not centered with my HP’s will, cause me pain.  Most recently, I realize that my put HUGE expectations on ME.  What I should be doing, how far in my recoveryI should be, how quickly I accept my part and how connected I am with my HP.  My expectations of what I can control and how I can “fix” them are off.  I feel judged by my sponsor.  I feel “wrong” for not simply letting things go and giving them to HP.

I have moments of peace though when I realize that I am exactly where I need to be.  Talking to other women in the program, seeking outside help from professionals and talking to my HP, are helping me get back on track to loving myself AS I AM.

I would love to hear your ESH on this topic.


May 7: Step Five

Topic for the week: Step 5  Admitted to God, ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

I worried a lot about Step 4, mainly because of how hard I heard it would be.  Of course, it was not easy, but it was incredibly freeing.  My early Steps were done with my most sincere effort and awareness, mixed I can admit, with fear.  I wanted to stay sober and I was determined to do what it takes.

I really hadn’t realized that Step 5 was scary too!  I was told that I am as sick as my secrets and since I buried so many of them so deep, I wasn’t really aware of all of their nature.  But I did know, ‘soul sickness’ as the Big Book calls it.  Such spiritual sickness, fear, isolation from my fellows, and shame were quite apt to make me drink rather than look squarely at myself.  It kept me from exercising the honesty I needed to advance in sobriety.  Once again, I was afraid.  I’d chosen a loving God but my resistance blocked out His love.

I think of Step 5 as the application of the character defects I uncovered in Step 4.  For me, not making the connection allowed me to imagine that I might own the defects, but surely I hadn’t acted on them!  Examples were the way I became enlightened.  I did need the ‘coaching’ of a sponsor with whom I was doing my Step 5 to be assured I was not unique, not the worst, and I could allow myself to recall and say out loud what I’d done in my past.  We are not bad people getting good, but sick people getting well.

I had another misconception.  I assumed that the fifth step referred only to those missteps I’d taken when I was drinking.  That belief would have cut my list in half if I hadn’t learned that the ‘ism of my alcoholism had affected my behavior from early on, way before I picked up a drink.

I came to the rooms very short on trust.  I was sure I was the worst, I was sure that anyone I told the exact nature of my wrongs would blab it all over the neighborhood, and my admission would just send me home feeling worse for even opening my mouth.  It didn’t happen that way.

The quality of my Step 4 and Step 5 improved over the years.  These steps are not one-and-done and support my sobriety all through my life.  Some ‘wrongs’ were not available to my conscious mind for many years.  Some I’d rationalized and left off the list.  And lo and behold, I’d created some new ones along the way!  The 10th Step can keep me out of that muck and mire if I am faithful to examining my actions of the day before I go to sleep.  And owning them.

An example:  It wasn’t so many years ago that I became aware of the need to do a 4th and 5th step on some behavior of the past that had come to my consciousness and began to bedevil me.  It started to make me sullen, depressed, fearful and angry.  I knew it was going to cause me a lot of trouble unless I took action.  That soul-sickness I spoke of.

I had just moved to a new area and had no one to talk to.  I chose a priest whose spirituality matched mine and made an appointment.  My idea, yes, but the closer the appointment came, the colder my feet became.  But I prevailed. I needed help to get out the details, time to cry, time to feel shame. In the process the priest revealed that he too was in AA and was well able to help.  I cried some more.  A huge burden was lifted from my soul.  I was ready to start anew and once again felt the love of my Higher Power who put this person in my life.

When I got home, I was so ecstatic that my husband believed I was having an affair. Never did. In fact, he believes that even today and I have not been able to persuade him otherwise.  The irony of that makes me laugh so hard!  In a certain way it is once again my Higher Power’s sense of humor.  hgz, b.  9/21/84


We are all invited to share, at any time this month, on Step 5 and Tradition 5. The steps are our blueprint for living sober lives. The traditions are what guide most AA groups. The traditions certainly inform our group conscience decisions and the original structure for GROW. We look forward to your shares.

This step is listed in Chapter 5, How it Works, from the book, “Alcoholics Anonymous” (affectionately known as the Big Book) (see p. 59). There’s more in Chapter 6, starting on p. 72. And there’s even more about it in the book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.

*** Where to get the books, Alcoholics Anonymous and Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions ***

You can find these books at many f2f AA meetings; you can order them online from many places. And they are available from the AA General Service office, to read online, in English, French, and Spanish. See

April 30: My AA Savings Account

Topic for the week: My AA ‘Savings Account’

I was given the gift of desperation 10 years ago on April 30th of 2013. I say desperation was a gift because that feeling of desperation is one of the main things that keeps me sober and in my seat in AA.

Now that I have a few 24 hours under my belt it would be easy to let up on my program. It might seem like I’ve ‘got this’ sobriety thing down. I can afford to go to less meetings… I don’t need to be as intense about working my program. That would be my disease talking though! My disease that is just waiting for me to give it an opening back into my life.

As I’ve approached my sober anniversary this year I have been especially focused on re-energizing my program. I was taught  early in sobriety that 5, 10, and 15 years sober can be dangerous year’s for an alcoholic. We get comfortable with sobriety. We get bored and start taking it for granted. If we aren’t careful a relapse might be just around the corner. Because that seed was planted I find myself evaluating my program on a regular basis. I ‘qualified’ once for a seat in the rooms. I don’t want to repeat that process!

Recovery is not a straight line. There will be hard times in our program and there will be hard times in our lives. That’s the way life is. It helps if we accept this and prepare for those hard times. Even after 10 years, I make it a habit to put time into my recovery every day. Developing good habits is like having a ‘savings account’. When hard times come, and they will, I can take the investment I’ve made and work through my problems.

My daily deposits into my ‘savings account’ help build up my faith. I know my faith is weak so I work at strengthening and building up my faith, increasing the deposits into my ‘savings account’. I do this in several ways. I have daily habits I follow. Prayer, meditation and checking in with GROW are the way I start each day. Having daily habits assures me I have something to fall back on in my ‘savings account’. I share regularly in meetings and I do Service when I can. I invest time each day building up strength for the times when temptation comes.

AA isn’t something that you ‘join like I once thought. It is a way of life. If I want to continue to live this life, free from alcohol, I have to work at it each day.

Sobriety isn’t an object that we acquire and then put on a shelf. It’s a never ending journey, one day at a time! I have to take care of it because permanent sobriety is something I will NEVER possess. The quality of my sobriety will always depend on today’s thinking, behavior and my continual deposits into my AA ‘savings account’.

Thank you for allowing me to lead the meeting this week. The meeting is now open for you to share.

April 23: AA is not a cure-all

Topic for the week:

Introduce the Topic of the Week – AA is not a Cure-ALL as Bill See it page 285

I thought that our meeting this week could be from AA Daily Reflection which is the following:


April 23

It would be a product of false pride to claim that A.A. is a cure-all, even for alcoholism.


In my early years of sobriety I was full of pride, thinking that A.A. was the only source of treatment for a good and happy life. It certainly was the basic ingredient for my sobriety and even today, with over twelve years in the program, I am very involved in meetings, sponsorship and service. During the first four years of my recovery, I found it necessary to seek professional help, since my emotional health was extremely poor. There are those folks too, who have found sobriety and happiness in other organizations. A.A. taught me that I had a choice: to go to any lengths to enhance my sobriety. A.A. may not be a cure-all for everything, but it is the center of my sober living.

I have been in the room’s of AA for quite a for years and I can recall that many people would say that all the answers of recovery are in the Big Book. There was a person who said to me all you have to do is read and live the Big Book-you don’t need to spend the money on therapy, just work the steps and talk with others.

Well, I wish my path was like the path she suggested. It was not, I love this reading by Bill. Why? Because it helped me feel that I was not the only one integrating support/resources to continue on the road of recovery. Being a recovering survivor of sexual abuse and a child of an alcholic home created a walls of protection around me as well as a deep disconnection that took many years to work through. Without the help of a skilled therapist I would not have been able to heal my inner child and learn about other survivorial patterns that I have carried with me for many years- which served me to get through my trauma, and today are being “unlearned” as I learn to connect and care for myself in healthy ways.

As Bill mentioned, being in therapy enhanced his emotional health. I have learned that being in therapy was the first step in learning to take care of myself and has brought me to a place where I can hear that wisdom and gifts that are present in the Big Book of AA (as well as other books related to recovery). I have also come to understand that my practice of yoga, walking my pup, going to meetings, using HALT on a regular basis, and working at connecting with others are all components of a recovery program.

Thank you for attending the meeting and please share what this reflection means to you or what are your thoughts about using additional resources besides the 12 steps of AA to enhance your recovery or talk about what is on your heart today.

Have a good day, and I wish you all another 24 hours of sobriety,

Mary o

April 16: Peace and Serenity

Topic for the week:  Peace and Serenity

My name is Statia and I am an alcoholic.  My life was riddled with fear and anxiety from the age of 6.  Growing up in a split family with alcohol  being abused heavily, my little brain and body were on constant high alert.  Unfortunately, I continued the cycle for 15 years of my adult life.  I felt like I was in a pinball machine most of my life.  Today, by God’s grace, I celebrate 13 years without alcohol.  I can sit still and just be.  That is a miracle!  What a blessing to learn a better way of living that encompasses all aspects of life.  Who knew?

Peace and serenity to all!

Statia 💜

April 9: An Aspect of Life on Life’s Terms

Topic for the week: An Aspect of Life on Life’s Terms

For my topic this week I want to remind myself and you wonderful ladies:
Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. As I write this I am at a crossroads. I am working towards a promotion but the stress levels and current workload are extreme, when I ask for help from multiple sources within the organisation, I get brick walls. I feel stressed and without support. My Ego wanted the promotion, but my body and soul want peace. I know what I need to do… Ive done it before for my drinking. This current path is not my friend. I need to acknowledge the problem and recognise life –  ON life’s terms. Its a get busy living or get busy dying moment here.

I remember the day I knew enough was enough. It was my inner trusted voice. That inner child had reached her limit and cried for help. My first day of self respect. No one else could do it for me. I had to forge my own path. When I was finally in control of my destiny, the results were amazing. No lie, it wasn’t easy…. But…. Its a beaut now.

This current crossroads hasn’t revealed itself fully but I know I need to change something and I trust my inner voice to lead me to something greater.

So Ladies- Over to you… Since you quit alcohol, what else have you been brave enough to undertake?

Thank you for the privilege of chairing this meeting.

*** Where to get the books, Alcoholics Anonymous and Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions ***

You can find these books at many f2f AA meetings; you can order them online from many places. And they are available from the AA General Service office, to read online, in English, French, and Spanish. See

April 2: Step Four

Topic for the week: Step 4

We are all invited to share on Step 4. The steps are our blueprint for living sober lives.

*** Step 4 ***
“Made a searching and fearless inventory of ourselves.”

This step is listed in Chapter 5, How it Works, from the book, “Alcoholics Anonymous” (affectionately known as the Big Book) (see p. 59). There’s a lot more in Chapter 5, starting on p. 64. And there’s even more about it in the book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.

I’m currently on my second time through the Steps, and I’m finding it much less intimidating than the first time around. Before I got sober, I wouldn’t let my brain go to scary places to do scary things like inventorying my flaws and weaknesses, my resentments and anger. That’s what drinking was for! When I did Step 4 the first time, I was afraid – a fairly permanent state of being for me then – that I’d (a.) forget something and it had to be perfect (of course) or I’d flunk, and (b.) I’d shock the sh*t out of my sponsor and she’d run for the hills screaming. Neither of these things happened. My list wasn’t perfect, (of course,) and I had to fill in some gaps as I reviewed my inventory with my sponsor, including one of the most heinous of my crimes against humanity which I guess my mind suppressed subconsciously at first. And my sponsor didn’t run for the hills, screaming or otherwise! Instead she graciously shared much of her Step Four with me. I was the one who was shocked, because of our many shared or similar experiences. It reinforced for me that I’d found my people, my tribe, the ones who “get” me. Finally, I belong.

This second time through the Steps, I have far fewer qualms about seeking out my flaws, weaknesses, resentments, and anger. Instead of my brain bouncing off these uglies, I’m able to engage and think through them to find understanding and, more importantly, the antidote to the poison they can brew, turning them over to my HP to do with what He will, and making appropriate amends. It’s a cleansing, and ultimately a refreshing, process that will last a lifetime. A prayer that I’ve been saying daily lately asks my HP to illuminate the darkness within me and around me. Where before I preferred to keep the lights off and just fly blind, now I choose to invite the light to see the tangle of cobwebs and the sticky corners so that we, my HP and I, can get to work scrubbing and cleaning, chasing the eternal sunshine of the spotless mind, and heart and soul, too. Through the filter of the HP of my understanding and some kind of amazing AA alchemy, those dark places and ugly cancers within me are spun into gold to be shared with other folks. It magically multiplies when I give it away!

What was your greatest fear about Step 4? What has been your greatest satisfaction as a result of it? Please share your experience, strength, and hope around Step 4.

Thank you for the privilege of chairing this meeting.

*** Where to get the books, Alcoholics Anonymous and Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions ***

You can find these books at many f2f AA meetings; you can order them online from many places. And they are available from the AA General Service office, to read online, in English, French, and Spanish. See

March 26: Life on Life’s Terms

Topic for the week:  Life on life’s terms

The first topic for me that came to mind was ‘life on life’s terms’ and it’s taken from Dr Paul’s chapter from the Big Book – which is chapter 16 entitled, Acceptance was the Answer.  Here is an excerpt from this chapter:

“For years I was sure the worst thing that could happen to a nice guy like me would be that I would turn out to be an alcoholic. Today I find it’s the best thing that has ever happened to me. This proves I don’t know what’s good for me. And if I don’t know what’s good for me, then I don’t know what’s good or bad for you or for anyone. So I’m better off if I don’t give advice, don’t figure I know what’s best, and just accept life on life’s terms, as it is today—especially my own life, as it actually is. Before A.A. I judged myself by my intentions, while the world was judging me by my actions.” 

This is one chapter that always resonates with me in my life which is my sober life now.  Grateful to have just celebrated 36 years of continuous sobriety but it is one day at a time.  I also trudge a lot at times.  I have been sober since my late teens so I have grown up in AA – worts and all.  I have had to go through things without a drink or drug to soothe or compensate or reward me.  Drink was my go-to and living life sober is living life on life’s terms (not mine).  It’s hard sometimes – sometimes hard but I get through it by reaching out to friends in the fellowship and connecting.  I still go to meetings, have a sponsor, and try and be of service whenever I can.  I love AA because it offers the solution and not just about putting down the drink (which of course had to happen first) but AA gives me a solution for living if I choose to show up, work the steps and be of service.

I always tend to share what’s going on with me today as that’s all I have is today.

This month has been very busy with work and life on life’s terms.  I have been dealing with a lot of emotions in particular grief.  My mom passed away from cancer last July.  It was this time last year that we only found out she was ill.  We found out she was terminal in May and then she deteriorated quickly and passed away on July 9th.  My sister and I took care of her in her home the two months before she died and it was really difficult but grateful I was sober and was able to be there.

Life has lots of ups and downs and life is full of new beginnings and deaths and closures.  Grateful to have AA and the tools to always meet me when life delivers ups and downs.  Acceptance was a new concept to me when I came into the rooms and now grateful that it is part of my vocabulary and toolbox.   Look forward to hearing about your experience with life on life’s terms.


March 19: Willingness

Topic for the week:  Willingness

My name is Alison B. and I am an alcoholic.  Welcome new gals & congratulations to anyone celebrating a milestone this week.  I actually turn 30 years sober on Monday and I for one, am flabbergasted at this development.  It is almost as if it is someone else’s birthday, not mine.  A different Alison that is somehow connected to me.  (Never mind that I have been hauling her butt to meetings for 30+ years, lol.)

I have been mulling over a topic for a while now.  What popped up for me today is the topic of Willingness.  When I was new to sobriety my sponsor used to say things like;  “Willingness is the key that unlocks the doors for you.”  “Just be willing to try on new ideas.”  “Honesty, Open-mindedness, and Willingness are all you need to make this program work.”

What was that???  What did she just say?  I’m so confused by all of this………that was my take on this AA stuff all those years ago.  It was a bit like listening to someone babble in a foreign language that I did not know!  So, I just kept showing up and not drinking in between meetings.  I trusted in the process.  I have shared in the past how I used to sleep with the Big Book hoping that I might somehow assimilate some of the magical information during my resting hours, as I could not comprehend the stuff I read.  I simply could not focus on the material.  When I was really struggling, my sponsor used to suggest that I pray for the willingness to…………………..fill in the blank for yourself here.

From the Cambridge English Dictionary:

the quality of being happy to do something if it is needed: [ + to infinitive ] She shows a willingness to work on her own initiative.

Throughout his career he has demonstrated a willingness to compromise. Synonyms. desire (WANT)

For me the happy part came later in sobriety, lol.  I was not happy when I first walked into AA.  So, I became willing to take direction, willing to do the work, willing to make amends, willing to clean house, willing to believe in a Power greater than myself, willing to sacrifice, willing to move forward, willing to take inventory, willing to be honest with myself and others, willing to show up, willing to grow, etc.

And my doors opened, and the light came in.  Here I am nearly 30 years later, and I have been given the gifts of sobriety.  I can say that I am Happy, Joyous & Free today.  Happy to seek God’s Will for me.  Joyous at the life I have been given.  Free from alcohol.  There is a solution for any problem that comes up.  And that my friends, is the most freeing of all.  Thank you to all the women who have come before me and illuminated my path to spirituality.  Because, the point is that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines, and willingness is the key!  It unlocks the door to a new way of life.


Alison B.

March 12: A Day’s Plan

Topic for the week:

A DAY’S PLAN March 12

On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead. We consider our plans for the day. Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives. 


Every day I ask God to kindle within me the fire of His love, so that love, burning bright and clear, will illuminate my thinking and permit me to better do His will. Throughout the day, as I allow outside circumstances to dampen my spirits, I ask God to sear my consciousness with the awareness that I can start my day over any time I choose; a hundred times, if necessary.”

From the book Daily Reflections. Copyright © 1990 by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. All rights reserved.

Everyday for some time now, I have started the day with taking my dog outside. I used to see this as a bothersome chore, especially in winter months. A few years ago, I decided to change my perspective and look at it as a time to get into conscious contact with my creator and make it into a walking meditation.

Starting my day this way gives me appreciation for small things like the sun, sky, trees, plants, and animals around me. I notice all of God’s creation and that I am a part of that creation and from that space, facing the day seems more manageable. And if my day starts to go south, I’ve realized I can step outside again, immersing myself in Gods creation once again and come back to that peace.

What kind of morning routine do you practice? How do you start your day over if you need to? Where are you able to find conscious contact with your creator when you need it? Or anything else that’s on your heart in relation to this reading or your sobriety, please share.

March 5: Step Three

Topic for the week: Step 3

Hello again, I’m Sophie and an alcoholic.

Thank you for being here. Thank you for having me serve as your Chairperson this week.

We are all invited to share on Step 3. The steps are our blueprint for living sober lives.

*** Step 3 ***
“Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God.”

This step is listed in Chapter 5, How it Works, from the book, “Alcoholics Anonymous” (affectionately known as the Big Book) (see p. 59). There’s more in Chapter 5, starting on p. 60. And there’s even more about it in the book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.

Starting with the 3 pertinent ideas on page 60, the a,b,c’s, I became convinced to my innermost self and at depth that I cannot safely drink, that I cannot take that first drink, that I am bodily and mentally different in the way I react to alcohol, that nothing I’ve tried in the past got me or kept me sober and that finding a god of my understanding is my only solution. This was pretty much my learning from the first two steps and the chaos of my life and drinking before AA. These are my foundations to my new sober life. So now at Step Three, where was I? How was I to do this “turning over” business? What was I actually turning over?

My experience is that this step is daily. But that it means I continue to turn to the solution in the program of Alcoholics Anonymous – the 12 steps. Once I start thinking I know best again or that I have to create an outcome or control a person or situation I know I’m back in Sophie’s will. It’s uncomfortable and it leads me into the spiritual malady of restless, irritable and discontent.

But the hope is I can start again at any point. I can reaffirm my desire to stay stopped and to continue to grow in my sobriety. I have reached that turning point so many times in my sobriety in pretty much every area of my life. Sometimes I write to God. Sometimes I get down on my knees. Often I pray sitting down with my arms and hands open. Or I talk to God in the pause before I tackle something new. Or I reach out to another AA or another person. I need to check my thinking and my actions. As my disease of alcoholism lives in my head it doesn’t help to try to do this alone. Better I pray or talk to someone in the program.

I’ve heard the first 3 steps distilled into I can’t, He can, so let Him. If the male word for god doesn’t work I can replace it with my own Them, She, It.

Step Three is me getting out of the way. Me taking my place alongside the god of my understanding. Stepping back to allow that “good orderly direction” to flow through me. Consciously pausing or waiting to allow my Higher Power in before me. Gosh, how many times have I rushed into the day and been coming up against everything and everyone then realising I’ve jumped in the driver’s seat, opened my Book of Complaints Against The World and been hurt or caused hurt.

Today I have AA that gives me choices.

I can say the prayer but it’s the actions I take that show I’m actually letting go of my old ideas, my old thinking and willing to continue learning and growing and practicing in the 12 steps. I can make the decision but without acting differently this step for me becomes lip service and an intellectual neck up exercise.  I want the freedom AA has given others so for me I want to continue to take the actions of the rest of the program.

Before Step Three I needed to have admitted my powerlessness over alcohol, to begin accepting this as a fact about myself and to have something I could understand as a power greater than myself. I couldn’t do that alone. I needed to hear it shared about in meetings by other alcoholics. I needed to ask questions, to read AA literature, to find a sponsor to walk with me.

Saying the Third Step Prayer for the first time with my sponsor was not a blaze of trumpets and angels. It was a turning point. I was doing something I’d never done before. I was seeking and accepting help and guidance from someone in my sobriety journey. I was saying alone I can’t.

I know I’ve turned my will over today when I’m not full of fear, when I’m in the flow of trusting all is well and my needs are met. Often the big things (the elephants) I find easier to turn over whereas the smaller day to day things (the bunny rabbits) can have me tripping over into impatience and anger and self justification or self pity. Watch out for the bunnies!

A program friend stayed with us recently. He used this phrase his sponsor used with him… “have you turned your will and life over to god today? Then what are you worrying about?”. What I loved about this is that it reminded me, in my first two years of sobriety I faced redundancy twice in the same organisation. Even though I was a relative beginner at practising this 3rd Step principle of trust, I had turned my will and life over to my HP, and when the news arrived I was filled with calm rather than dread, with the feeling of being held and looked after rather than cast off into the abyss to fend for myself. And both times things happened that were better than anything I could have dreamt of for myself. Sure it wasn’t all plain sailing but I had program friends, meetings, my sponsor, the steps, god, and I got to experience new things that wouldn’t have happened had I got in the way of god’s will for me. I always say, thank God for AA and thank AA for God. I get carried, held, loved, guided, nourished and all when I trust and get out of the way.

The words of the Third Step Prayer (page 63 of the Big Book) continue to be a core of my daily connection with my God;

If you wish to say them with me I’m including them here.

God I offer myself to Thee 

To Build with me and to do with me as Thou Wilt.

Relieve me of the Bondage of Self, that I may better do Thy Will.

Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love and Thy Way of Life.

May I do Thy Will always. 


I open the weekly meeting for all who wish to share on topic on the Third Step, and off topic for anyone needing to share on anything else related to alcoholism or sobriety. Third Step in the third month…. step shares always welcome, if you miss this week just post your share as off topic. Or if you have a question,  post it as off topic and members will reply to you personally.

Thank you for having me be of service.Growing and loving in Grow, in AA and in life.

Sending out love and prayers and hugs to all my Grow sisters.


*** Where to get the books, Alcoholics Anonymous and Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions ***

You can find these books at many f2f AA meetings; you can order them online from many places. And they are available from the AA General Service office, to read for free online, in English, French, and Spanish. See

February 26: Service in AA

Topic for the week: Service in AA

While I was an active alcoholic I didn’t do much for others or if I did, I expected something in return. When I came into AA my sponsor told me I needed to get involved in AA and doing service was an ideal way to do that. I wanted to stay sober and was willing to do what I was told would keep me sober so I started my service in AA, as many of us have, by making coffee. It was a great way to get out of my shell and actually talk to others instead of hiding in the back of the room, and as I attended more meetings, listened to what was being said, and started to understand the program more, my service commitments expanded to leading meetings, taking part in a local conference, and just about anything else I was capable of doing. Along with not drinking, doing AA service was just as important for this alcoholic as far as staying sober as it got me to meetings, got me to open up a bit about myself, got me listening to others – I found I didn’t know it all 🙂 – and got me to finally feel a part of something that was good for me, that would help me change the deeply unhappy, destructive life I led as an active alcoholic.

There are several reasons service is an integral part of the AA program…why service is one of the three Legacies of AA. For one, Alcoholics Anonymous wouldn’t survive if we didn’t have volunteers and “special workers” to do the work that’s needed to keep the program going, i.e., from organizing a meeting place, paying the bills, coordinating with hospitals and prisons, publishing approved materials, and so much more. In addition, as AA’s co-founders showed, we have to “give it away in order to keep it”, meaning that as members of AA we cannot stay sober unless we give of ourselves – our experience, our time, our effort – to others. As it states in the Big Book on page 89, “To watch people recover, to see them help others, to watch loneliness vanish, to see a fellowship grow up about you, to have a host of friends – this is an experience you must not miss. We know you will not want to miss it. Frequent contact with newcomers and with each other is the bright spot in our lives.”

Through the years I have always aimed to do something for AA which includes not only overt service work but also talking with others after a meeting, especially newcomers, or in the case of this online group, responding privately to a member’s share. And I still enjoy making coffee/tea at meetings as I get to meet just about everyone and chat with them for a bit…for me, it’s AA at its most basic. Service has been and I trust will continue to be a fundamental part of my sobriety…there is no AA without it and I know I can’t stay sober without AA. I need AA because sobriety is much more than just not drinking – it’s a way of life that I want to maintain and the only way to do that is to practice the program and take an active role in it, i.e., make service part of my recovery.

Service work may seem burdensome but speaking for myself, my sobriety has been enriched and strengthened by the service work I’ve done as a member of GROW. It does take time, which some of us may feel we don’t have, and other things such as effort, patience, etc. which some members may also feel they don’t have but as with so much in AA, when we give, we get something in return.

Here is the link to ‘AA’s Legacy of Service’, by Bill W. It’s an excellent read and will, I hope, inspire you to consider increasing your service to GROW and AA as a whole.

For this week’s meeting, please share on your experience of service in AA.

Thanks for letting me chair the meeting.

Michele R. (former GROW secretary)

February 19: Prayer

Topic for the week: Prayer

Over the last couple years in this program, I’ve learned how important prayer is–part of the 12 steps, a way to surrender and let go of control, ask for guidance from a Higher Power, quiet the mind and focus on gratitude. When life gets so busy and my brain gets crazy, I need to remind myself to continue taking care of my spiritual self. When I get stressed out, I tend to only think about my mental and physical issues. The AA Big Book (page 64) says we have not only been mentally and physically ill, but we’ve also been spiritually sick. “When the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically.” The spiritual does not come easy to me, I need to work at it.

Prayer is the way I’ve stayed connected to my Higher Power and stayed sane while being sober, and the meeting topics the last couple weeks (step 2, letting go) helped me realize that I haven’t been spending as much time on prayer lately as I should. Besides the Serenity Prayer that I can use anytime throughout the day, I had created a morning/evening routine of prayers to keep myself grounded and connected. I’ve been making more of an effort to keep to that routine.

One of the prayers on my list that I find helpful is, “God, please direct my thinking today so that it’s divorced from self-pity, dishonesty, self-will, self-seeking, and fear. Guide me through the day and show me my next step. Give me what I need to relax and take care of any problems. I ask these things so I’m of maximum service to You and to the people around me. Amen.”

How do you use prayer in your recovery and in your daily life? I look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you for letting me share,

February 12: Letting Go

Topic for the week: Letting go

I’ve never been good at letting go of what I want, what I (think I) need, and what I love. Alcohol was something I wanted, felt I needed, and loved because it made me forget my life, at least for a little while. When I was told I was an alcoholic and that I would need to give up alcohol in order to get sober, I was aghast…I had never, ever, contemplated life without alcohol.

However, when alcohol took so much more from me than it gave, when it made me want to kill myself rather than face my life each day, when it made my life so very unmanageable, I was finally willing to let it go. I’d got to the point where, if I continued to drink, I was going to die (I’d fallen down stairs more than once and had driven in a blackout), I’d end up in prison (I’d already been arrested once and spent a few days in jail), or I’d end up in a psychiatric ward with a mind so totally gone I’d probably never be released.

As it turned out, giving up alcohol saved my life; it actually gave me a life worth living. But it was scary letting go of something I relied on so much, which is why I started to rely on my Higher Power rather than my own self-will. I couldn’t have let go of alcohol without turning to my Higher Power, and then AA, for comfort, strength, sanity (little by little), and much more.

Even so, letting go of alcohol was only the beginning of letting go of the other things in my life that made it unmanageable and stressful. In order to gain some sanity and serenity I had to learn to let go of some people in my life who didn’t want what was best for me, some places that made me think it might be okay to take a drink/drug, situations I had no control over, and everyday stuff that just wasn’t worth getting stressed out about (I’m still working on this!).

I’ve found that letting go of alcohol (& drugs) and what I can’t control eases my mind and soul, makes me more loving to others, and aligns me more closely with what I believe my HP wants for me and wants me to be. Letting go gives me so much!

Please share on your experiences of letting go, or whatever is on your mind regarding sobriety.

Thanks for letting me share.


February 5: Step Two

Topic for the week: Step 2

We are all invited to share on Step 2. The steps are our blueprint for living sober lives.

*** Step 2 ***
“Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”

Hello Ladies of GROW, Welcome to our newcomers and congratulations to those who have celebrated a sobriety birthday to this date. Today’ our meeting is on Step Two. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

When I was re-reading step two there are three words that stand out as I read about the step in this moment.  The first word is CAME. I would like to talk about this word at the end of my share. The second word is POWER. I believe when we talk about a POWER greater than us refers to someone or some force that is much wiser than I am and provides guidance to the elements for the universe. In addition, when I ask my HP for the strength, grace, and guidance he does. Furthermore, my HP helps to keep, maintain my level of sanity so I can be of service to those who need it as well as keep me living a sober life. Yes, I must do the leg work, but my HP is always with me.

The third word is SANITY.  I know when I read the word sanity, I immediately thought about insanity which I was taught as doing the same thing and expecting a different result. Like going out to drink and thinking that I would not black out or get drunk-I think we all know how the evening went, right. Or turning to my biological family thinking that this time they would be there for me which never happened – it was like trying to put a square peg in a round hole. For years my kid within keeps thinking and feeling that this time would be different. Today I understand that they are who they are, and they are not able to connect as a family and this inner wound has healed over time.  So today when I say the word sanity, I think of peace with oneself, with the trauma of the past, a connection with my HP and/or a sense of harmony with my program.

The first word CAME TO I would love to end this share by saying that I simply came to believe that my HP could restore me to sanity the first time I read this step. When I came to recovery/AA, I believed that there was a HP who I call God. Where my block was thinking and feeling that he had it out for me. That I was on his I will mess with you list. It has taken time but deep within my heart I believe my God never wanted to mess with me, life happens, and he has always been there leading me back to a life of sanity, a life of recovery.

Please share how step two works in your program today? What does Power mean to you? What does Sanity mean to you?  Or share what is on your heart.

Thank you for listening and attending today’s meetings.


Mary O

January 29: One Day, One Hour, One Moment at a Time

Topic: One day, One Hour, One Moment at a Time

In just a few days (God willing!) I will be celebrating 8 years of sobriety.  When I think back to the very beginning of this journey, I recall being a white knuckler – i.e., it was a struggle to just get through the day.  Between 4pm and dinnertime was the hardest because this was when I would normally dive into my liquid serenity, just to ‘take the edge off’.  For many years, I would only skip this ritual if I was in a place where alcohol just wasn’t available.  By design, I didn’t let that happen often.

So these 2-3 hours every day were challenging to say the least, the ‘edge of life’ was very hard to deal with booze-free.  Going out for dinners with family members that made me anxious and reaching for the drink was especially challenging.  I would watch everyone order their drinks and have myself an inner pity party, green with envy.

What got me through that first year was two things. First, I kept my hands busy with a hot cup of tea instead of a wine glass, and second was the expression that I read and heard a lot: take it one day at a time.  I had to dig a little deeper during the rough hours, telling myself if I can just get through this one hour or this one moment, I could make it to dinner and then eventually to bed without alcohol.  Honestly, if I had to accept that I would never be able to drink again I’m not sure I would have stuck with it.

AA is filled with so many helpful people and tools, but I’m so grateful that I had the sense to focus on this concept of time in the early days.  That is truly how I managed to stay sober. I’ve learned so much more on this rich journey, but were it not for the simple basic lessons learned at the beginning I might not be here today. And, I’m happy to report that with enough days, hours, moments of sobriety, my knucles eventually returned to a healthy skin tone 😊.

Wherever you are in your sobriety journey, how important is taking life one day, one hour, one moment at a time?  I’m ready for your stories ladies!

Grateful for all of you,

Susan P.


January 22: Personality Change

Topic for the week: Personality Change

“It has often been said of A.A. that we are interested only in alcoholism. That is not true. We have to get over drinking in order to stay alive. But anyone who knows the alcoholic personality by firsthand contact knows that no true alky ever stops drinking permanently without undergoing a profound personality change.” [As Bill Sees It; p. 1]

I have two daughters, both grown now. When my youngest was in college, and before I was scheduled to arrive for a visit, she was describing me to a friend and said, “Mom can be … “‘extra’.” (I know this because her friend is now my friend, too, and she told me!) I, of course, thought: “Oh, like, extra fun, extra cool, extra sweet!?” Came to find out that “extra” meant “over the top,” as in “buckle up, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!”

My emotional life before sobriety was a roller coaster, for me and anyone who breathed in my general vicinity. I felt my feelings screaming out loud and flapping my arms in the air. Sobriety has gifted me with the temperance of my emotions. Sober, I have the bandwidth to feel my feelings rather than zoom past them in a blur, process them from the stable foothold of the Steps, and to respond rather than react. I’m off the emotional carnival ride!

My youngest and I were looking at her sister’s wedding pictures recently, and she said, “Mom, you look like a completely different person now.” That’s because I am a different person – not completely, but I’m on my way.

What has been the most profound personality change that sobriety has gifted you? Thank you for the opportunity to chair and share.


Julie K

January 15: Connections/Passing it on

Topic for the week: Connections / Passing It On

Hi again, I’m still Mari Ann and I am an alcoholic.

I woke up in the middle of the night last Monday filled with awe and gratitude at being 35 years sober and that it has been connections with other women in the program that made it possible.

I was a loner my whole life. Growing up I waited for the spaceship from my home planet to swing down and retrieve me because I sure didn’t belong wherever I was.  Once I went out on my own, I learned to like being independent and alone.  Fast forward to decades later when I was in treatment. The topic in one of the group sessions was the slogans. The one I was given said “you never have to be alone again”. Yeah, right.   I preferred being alone, I wanted nothing to do with you people.

That was then. Two events in recent months made visible to me just how different my life is today.  Last October I attended a dinner/meeting where one of my sponsees spoke on her actual 25th soberversary.

One of her sponsees caught my eye and gestured from me to my sponsee, then to herself, then to her sponsee who then pointed to her sponsee and ultimately to that one’s sponsee. Six levels of sponsoring at one large table. Six levels of one woman passing her experience, strength and hope to the next in the desire to stay sober herself!   It still gives me goosebumps.

The second event was this week when a local woman celebrated 45 years the day after my 35. I wrote a card to her in which I explained that she, at about 5 years sober, attended a meeting crying about how awful she felt because her son had been killed in an accident and she wanted to drink so badly that she came to a meeting instead.

I wrote how her example – at that meeting – inspired my own sponsor (who was newly in the program) to stay sober too. As my sponsor said, “If that woman could stay sober after her son was killed, I had absolutely no reason to justify ever picking up a drink again.”

My sponsor celebrated 40 years last October also.  It was only after listening to her share at a lot of meetings, I came to the conclusion that she had probably faced all the same kind of demons that I was facing and she stayed sober so maybe she could show me how to do it. At which time I asked her to be mine.

Putting all that in the card made me shiver with awe and gratitude again for the miracle of one woman, daring to be honest and share her truth at meetings to save her own sobriety, actually wound up saving many more.

I am richly blessed with a host of women I can call on locally, across the country, and a few who’ve been godsends from overseas. Every single share I read or hear adds something to my own recovery. Every phone call, WhatsApp text or call strengthens another connection.  You may not know me personally, but you have enhanced my own program and recovery every time you share.

One of my wise women said she really liked a hardware store ad because of how well it fit the AA program. The ad said “You can do it; we can help”.

May Serendipity bless all of you for all of you helping me.

<done>  <=== from the old chat room meetings


January 8: Practicing Gratitude

Topic for the week: Practicing Gratitude

My name is Karen and I’m an alcoholic, sober today through the grace of God and AA. Welcome to all.

My efforts to incorporate a daily practice of gratitude ebb and flow. My life feels particularly challenging right now and I know it’s a time I need to be vigilant in my sobriety. Practicing gratitude is something I can do every day and even though it seems such a simple thing, I know that when I’m in a state of gratitude I’m not going to dark places in my head.

Like many of the tools we learn about in AA—aren’t we the lucky ones😊—practicing gratitude can be a powerful tool for anyone. Studies have shown that people who tend to be more grateful have more brain activity in the medial prefrontal cortex, the area associated with learning and decision making. The effects can be long lasting and people who consciously count their blessings tend to be happier and less depressed. A focus on gratitude can take the focus off those toxic emotions of resentment and envy that this alcoholic tends to gravitate towards.

I love this quote from author Melody Beattie ~ “ Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity … it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

I struggle with keeping up a conscious gratitude practice. I know that it’s a journey, not a destination. I know that real gratitude is feeling the emotion, not just saying “thank you” or “I’m thankful for” without any real feeling attached. I’ve tried to keep a gratitude journal and will keep it up for a while, but it can start to feel rote.

In the past months I’ve realized that for this alcoholic it was time to put a gratitude practice front and center. I’ll share a few things I’m trying to help me consciously bring more gratitude into my life.

Sometimes I read what I have written in my gratitude journal aloud. Just as writing it in the journal helps me FEEL it more than just thinking it, saying aloud what I am grateful seems to help me be more present with the practice.

I like to meditate and find the ambience I create can really add to the practice—lighting, a candle, music. I’ve tried this with my gratitude practice a couple of times when I’ve needed something more and it’s been powerful. Kind of a meditative mantra of gratitude.

My children are grown and when we are together at Thanksgiving we spend some time saying what we are most grateful for in the past year. This idea came from the kids and it’s something we all love; the sharing is heartfelt. When we share our gratitude with others it helps us feel connected. For me, that helps with both acknowledging that yes, sometimes my life is tough but I’m part of the shared experience of humanity. Expressing gratitude for what I have to others and expressing gratitude for what they give me helps me to feel connected and I know isolating in grief is not a good place for me to be. I hope to make this practice more than an annual one and am thinking of all the people that are important to me and how much I have to thank each of them for. My goal is to send a couple of these hand-written expressions of gratitude in the mail each month. For me that extra step of making it more than a text or email will help me really think about what they have brought to my life.

Ladies, thank you for listening to me. I would love to hear from each of you on how you practice gratitude.

Tight hugs,

Karen H

January 1: Step 1

Topic for the week: Step 1

“We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.”

I was in complete denial until the very end of my drinking even though there was ample evidence demonstrating my complete powerlessness over alcohol. I believe I was an alcoholic from the first drink; I was a prime candidate considering I had a strong desire to escape reality as often as I could starting at about age 12. I turned to drugs first as they were, oddly enough, easier to get. But by the age of 17 I could pass for 21 – the legal age to drink in Pennsylvania in the late ’70s – so I started hanging out in bars with people (most of whom were a lot older than I was) who drank like I did.

I liked alcohol because it allowed me to come out of my shell and “be myself”, or so I thought. I cultivated the image of a bad-ass who was reckless, refused to obey authority, and could out-drink anyone. The reality of the situation was that I slept with friends’ boyfriends, I stole items from friends and stores (and got arrested for that once), I had no plan for my life so I drifted from job to job and place to place, I wallowed in self-pity most of the time and when really drunk I often cried, and I had almost no people/social skills, which was most evident when I was drinking. I was filled with remorse, embarrassment, shame, and unhappiness most days so I drank to make it all go away, not seeing that I was only making matters worse.

I remember once sitting in a bar, alone, looking at all the bottles behind the bartender and the thought came to me that I wanted to have them ALL…all of the 70 or so bottles of alcohol that were in front of me! It didn’t occur to me that it wasn’t normal to think that way. I remained in denial for about ten years, until the day I woke up/came to one morning after blacking out – again – and heard a voice in my head that said, “That’s it.” I’d woken up not knowing where I was and was trying to get dressed when I heard this voice. I thought, what does “That’s it” mean? I heard it again, in the same measured tone, and knew instantaneously that I was an alcoholic and that if I continued to drink I’d end up in a morgue, jail, or some kind of institution. After figuring out where I was, I took the train home and within a few days called George, a guy my mother had been seeing who just happened to have six years of sobriety. I’d been to an AA meeting with him two months prior to this but it had had no noticeable affect on me. But the voice did, and I can only think it was my HP doing for me what I could not do for myself.

From that day in August 1989 until now I’ve never doubted I’m an alcoholic, thankfully. My sobriety date is April 8, 1991 though because I continued to use drugs until April 7th; it wasn’t until I eliminated all mind- and mood-altering substances that I truly got sober so I changed my sobriety date to reflect this.

My life was unmanageable for a long time and a severe case of denial prevented me from seeing the cause – alcohol. Accepting Step One was such a relief; I finally knew what the problem was! And knowing the misery, confusion, and difficulties alcohol causes in my life has made it relatively easy to refrain from picking up a drink. Once in a while I get flashbacks regarding things I did while drunk and I inevitably shake my head and wonder how I could have done such a thing…that wasn’t the “real me”, it was the “drunk me” and I don’t want to be that woman again. Starting with Step One, I’ve learned who I really am, I’ve learned to live life on life’s terms, I’ve learned to think more of others than of myself, and so much more. Alcohol took so many things from me, important things, but sobriety has given me some of those things back. But I could never have started on this road to recovery if I hadn’t accepted my powerlessness over alcohol – this was the key to everything as far as my sobriety and following the AA program.

We are all invited to share on Step 1. The steps are our blueprint for living sober lives.

*** Step 1 ***
“We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.”

This step is listed in Chapter 5, How it Works, from the book, Alcoholics Anonymous (affectionately known as the Big Book) (see p. 59). There’s more – the Big Book opens with Bill’s Story (which details how one of the A.A. founders found that he was powerless over alcohol and that his life was unmanageable) and I think Chapter 3, “More About Alcoholism” talks about this in detail. There’s even more about it in the book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.

*** Where to get the books, Alcoholics Anonymous and Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions ***

You can find these books at many f2f AA meetings; you can order them online from many places. And they are available from the AA General Service office, to read online, in English, French, and Spanish. See