Fellowship, A Substitute for Alcohol
The following is taken from the Big Book… Page 152, from “A Vision for You”:
“We have shown how we got out from under. You say, “Yes, I’m willing. But am I to be consigned to a life where I shall be stupid, boring, and glum, like some righteous people I see? I know I must get along without liquor, but how can I? Have you a sufficient substitute?
“Yes, there is a substitute and it is vastly more than that. It is a fellowship in Alcoholics Anonymous. There you find release from care, boredom, and worry. Your imagination will be fired. Life will mean something at last. The most satisfactory years of your existence will lie ahead. Thus we find the fellowship, and so will you.”
I have so many things for which to be grateful today and it actually began when I quit drinking, started working the program, and found new friends in the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. If I had continued on my path of self-destruction, I would likely be dead or institutionalized. I have good friends today…both alcoholics and non-alcoholics.close relationships.and I’m no longer alone.
Although I learned about identifying myself as an alcoholic, sharing, and relating to others at the discussion tables, my greatest experiences were in the meeting after the meeting when we would get a group together to either sit outside after the meeting and smoke our lungs out, or go to the restaurant for more coffee. The time spent with them kept me busy until the beer stores closed and I think that was one of the reasons they included us newbies – to keep us pre-occupied until it was time to go home.
It was there that people shared more personal stories and I was amazed that they could laugh at themselves and didn’t take themselves too seriously. I so looked forward to those times as they replaced my boredom, my emptiness, my aloneness, and negative thoughts. From their example, I learned to take the risk to share some of my personal story with them, which made me feel a part of, and then I was able to share at my discussion meetings.
Some of the nicest people I know I have met in AA. The program of AA, the friends and the fellowship, and the support of others are irreplaceable to my sobriety and wellness. If we don’t have friends, we don’t have support; and if we don’t have support, this leads to feelings of isolation. That is not why we are here. These days, GROW is a huge part of my fellowship. I have established some wonderful contacts online and some great friendships along the way.
How do you experience this Fellowship in your recovery and how has it helped you?