September 18: What It Was Like (My Early Days in A.A.)

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