May 15: The day I stopped drinking

The day I stopped drinking

t’s very special for me to chair the meeting today as it’s the anniversary of the day I took my last drink. My first memories of that day (I would have been drinking from the moment I woke) are putting the lead on the dog and looking at the clock, it was 10am exactly.

I walked down to the phone box (I remember that walk) and looked up AA’s number in the phone book. I had no idea what AA was, but I thought tramps who slept on park benches went there. I didn’t care, I was at my rock bottom and didn’t know where to turn. I had been drinking too much, too often for too long, and I didn’t know how to stop. Eventually when I managed to dial correctly, a nun from the local convent answered the phone and gave me the number of an AA member.

I have no idea what I said to him but by the time I’d walked home, two twelfth steppers were at my door. They talked to me about my drinking and about AA. I had that amazing feeling that I was not alone. The lady, her name was Brilda, took me to her home for the day, then took me back to my house so that I could change for the meeting that night. I was lucky. It was a Thursday, a day when one of the three meetings in my city was held.

I can’t really describe what I felt as I walked into the room with about fifteen ‘normal’ looking people standing around drinking coffee and smoking. I didn’t understand but as the meeting started and people shared their stories, that night I knew I had found a home, a place of safety where I could be myself for the first time in many years.

That happened thirty-six years ago today.

I was going to introduce a different topic for this week, but as I wrote this introduction, I had that awful feeling in the pit of my stomach, memories of that day are intense. I found myself reaffirming the fact that I NEVER want to go through anything like that again.

I wondered if it would be useful for all of us, whether one day or fifty years sober, to share about the day we stopped drinking. I know I would love to hear your stories. Of course, please share about anything that’s concerning you.

A word of comfort before we revisit those days comes from ‘The Keys of the Kingdom’ (page 312 in my Big Book):

“There is no more ‘aloneness’ with that awful ache, so deep in the heart of every alcoholic that nothing before could ever reach it. That ache is gone and need never return again. Now there is a sense of belonging, of being wanted and needed and loved.”