By Sandy B

I have always (until recently) fought with the opening of all our meetings and Chapter 5 in the Big Book. What was I fighting with? 

“Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves.” 

I thought that the words themselves were negative and could turn off newcomers as they came to meetings. 

Recently as I sat in a doctor’s office I started thinking about those words and myself prior to going to my first meeting. Suddenly a light bulb went on. Of course, I had to get honest with myself otherwise A.A. would never have worked for me. That is one day at a time! I had to:

     See It
     Acknowledge It
     Own It
     Before I could seek to change it.

That was December 1, 1981. I did not have the vaguest notion of how to change but I knew I had to do something. So, I ran to A.A. friends that day. They guided me through that day and that night I went to my first A.A. meeting.

WOW! Graduation Day! If A.A. could work for me then I was an alcoholic and not a besotted drunk. I finally:  

     Saw my alcoholism and what I was doing to myself
     Acknowledged the effects of my alcoholism 
     Owned my alcoholism
     I owned it to the core of my being
    I was seeking to change my besotted drinking into sobriety

That night I knew nothing. You did! You taught me that it was a 24-hour Program that I did not have to quit drinking for the rest of my life—just today. You helped me to see that I had a disease and that I was not crazy.

You showed me I had a new family, one that would step up to the plate and help me get sober.

But like all newcomers there was an immediate problem. There is always an immediate problem. Mine was on the wall in Step 2 and Step 3. Back in the day, priests and nuns always taught that we had to adore God and be in His service. But do not go to Him with your problems. He was too busy helping others. Pull yourself up by the bootstraps and solve your own issues.

I was afraid that A.A. could never work for me. Step 2 said: “Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” Step 3 said: “Made a decision to turn our will and lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.” 

God did not want my problems. Yes, I knew He got me to the meeting but at the door it was as if He said: “there you go kid. Listen, learn, do what they tell you. Good luck!” 

Early on someone suggested that I could make a beginning on my alcoholic problem by surrendering to the group when it came to alcohol. In a flash, you became my Higher Power. 

That was over 40 years ago. My faith in a Higher Power morphed from the group to my God. He has become “Father” and for me this is the most precious gift of this program. It ranks first to the second precious gift. For the last 15 years of her life, my mom knew she had a sober daughter. 

I could feel my spirituality grow under your direction. Now I understood that I was the daughter, and He was the Father. I was safe. However, I could not put it into words. Then I tripped over a book called The Souls of Animals and there it was. 

Spirituality is the awareness of self within a larger universe. A sense that the universe is a big place, and I am a small cog with a job to do. It does not get any better when this is accompanied by a sense of wonder about it all. 

My friends you taught me, held my hand and lifted me up when the going got tough. You are responsible for my sobriety. You showed me how to be accepting and forgiving. You led me in a 40 plus year search for spirituality. I am so grateful to you! All my love. 

My name is Sandy and I am a very grateful alcoholic.

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