We are all spiritual beings having a human experience.”

I went to my first meeting in Turlock, in 1980. I was eighteen years old. I’d left home at fifteen. My folks gave me a choice, I could quit selling pot or to move out. They were wonderfully liberal but not liberal enough to have their entrepreneurial son carry on with his successful drug business. I moved over to my girlfriend’s place and became the pseudo male of the family as there were no other male figures in the mix.

Around twelve or thirteen, I started daily drinking and using and quickly realized I had to develop an income if I wanted to continue my lifestyle. I was successful from the start and gravitated into the restaurant business working first as a waiter at fourteen and moved up the ranks to management, while continuing to wait tables and sell drugs. I was drawn to upper-end eateries and utilizing my skills, many doors were opened. A fellow worker saw how intensely I drank and used, he recommended that first AA meeting.

After graduation my girlfriend wanted to study fashion in L. A. We broke up when I was twenty-one, but I followed her to Southern California and continued to work at high end restaurants. I started out at the Polo Lounge and Scandia but would go anywhere they wanted me. In 1984, I went to my first rehab, a Care Unit in Southern California. This began many varied, experiences in drug and alcohol rehab. In 1988 I moved into the Salvation Army, and this was followed by Walden House and Kaiser’s CDRP. I kept thinking if I went to rehab, they would fix me. It took a while to realize it was an inside job.

Almost all my formative years, I’ve been in AA, in and out of recovery. Program offered an opportunity to learn life’s lessons, and, in the process, I learned how to be a human being. We are all spiritual beings having a human experience. It’s messy by nature. We always make mistakes and I see those mistakes as defects of character. The great thing about AA is that people in recovery are patient. We watch people come in and out while they get what they’re supposed to get on their time, not ours. Over this period, I accrued two, three and five years or recovery before my present sobriety date, October 13, 2003.

Over all those years of recovery, I chose to date women within AA. It was all I knew, and dating fellow alcoholics offered my strongest likelihood for recovery. Normies don’t understand out disease.

The problem today is that because of my “within house” dating, it has all come back to bite me. A “Predator List” of some members has come to my attention. This is a list of men to stay away from because of inappropriate behavior. My name is on that list. I’m sick about this. Yet I can do nothing to remedy it and I’m not sure what I did, exactly. I want to make amends and don’t know how it can be done. The whole purpose of AA is to make amends for wrongs done and hopefully be forgiven. I don’t deny my past, but I’d sure like to shut that door on it.

Page 69 of our Alcoholics Anonymous book says, “We do not want to be the arbiter of anyone’s sex conduct.”

Today, I’m active in my AA program. I love sharing my years of fighting for sobriety. I don’t sign up to be anyone’s Higher Power, but I happily share the story of my journey with anyone from those in the Bleachers of Golden Gate Park to inmates at San Quentin. I’ve traveled all over the world, thanks to AA and still wait a table every so often. I may never be able to pay AA back for what it’s given me, but I’ll give back all I’m capable of.

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