Topic for the week: WHAT IT WAS LIKE (My Early Days in A.A.)
I’d vowed I’d never drink. Surely I wouldn’t be an alcoholic. I was afraid of drinkers and they made me mad. However…well, you know. Celebrating a sober anniversary, I try to explain.
I was a late starter but soon realized I was proficient at this thing called drinking. Perhaps not even getting drunk, I thought. LOL! Early on, I’d perfected my character defects. They did yield to some inhibitions. When I drank they were full blown.
There came a time when the frequency and progression of my drinking sped up. One day I couldn’t stop at all. I was scared. I called an ex who was in the Program who took me to counseling. I was sent to AA. I thought it was a mistake but what else could I do? When I got to that church basement I was bewildered but felt at home. I am an inveterate people watcher. I watched and listened to everyone. I really couldn’t make sense of what was happening.
Nothing seemed like it would stop my drinking.
I had to agree, I was powerless over alcohol. My life surely was unmanageable. But I stopped drinking on the spot. The obsession was lifted. I have no idea why. For sure I didn’t make it happen. Without alcohol I couldn’t stand the emotional pain and thought I’d die. I was losing my mind! This one was beyond me. Now what? I had long dropped the ‘god’ of my childhood for non-performance! I tried to make that work but it just didn’t. I didn’t know where to turn. I couldn’t deny there was ‘something’ out there. If I coulda, I woulda!
I came to the rooms with a smattering of spirituality. I think that for a long time the group was a power greater than myself. All these people doing what I couldn’t. So many of them found a god they liked. I considered trying one of theirs. A most amazing chapter of ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, our Big Book, We Agnostics, Chapter 4 explains it all. I’d have to stay in this limbo for a while first.
I was a poster child for the first 3 Steps. I saw them as one chunk of a step. I was there for a good while. Slowly the message began to seep in. I was in wild emotional pain but I didn’t even want to drink. I just wanted to get better from the hurt and rage that drinking alcohol powered. I found out that I’d had one of those nice Higher Powers who looked after me all along, but who was just waiting til I settled somewhere in life to finish the job. I understood that. I continued to marvel at the meetings and how others managed their lives without drinking and not giving up. And every meeting gave me more hints. It started to work.
Sometimes I still read How It Works again to find out just how indeed it did work. You know, like the details. I know it was a MIracle-but what in particular helped me stop drinking at that meeting. Right there. I only just arrived.
I am forever grateful, a day at a time. I guess newcomers look at me and wonder too. That’s okay. It’s part of the process. Maybe my experience, strength and hope will help. September makes me think about things: the month I was born, the month I got sober. That’s what it was like. I would never have imagined. So glad I’m here. What were your early days like? What a gift to join with all of you today! hgz, b. 9/21/84