by Jillian E

Although at the time I would not have agreed with what I am about to say, when I first came to AA, I was a self-centered, emotionally immature woman. I was depressed, full of fear and unbearably unhappy. I didn’t really think alcohol was my problem, but I read a book about an alcoholic woman and had many of the same symptoms that she talked about. So I called a friend I knew was in AA and asked her to take me to a meeting.

The steps and traditions were on the wall at that first meeting, and when I saw the word God in the third step, I knew that AA would not work for me. But there were so many happy, smiling faces at that meeting. I was attracted to that and I wanted more of it. I also felt safe and accepted, which were two feelings I did not feel very often, and I craved them. 

As a 12-year-old child at my parents’ funeral, I was told by my grandmother that there was no such thing as God. She told me no God would have taken my parents from me and her only daughter from her. I believed her, of course I did. We believe so many things our parents, teachers and society teach us as we grow up in this world (that’s a whole other article). Because of this belief, I knew AA was not going to work but I stuck around for two years, going to meetings and playing the game. Miracle #1 was that for two years, I didn’t drink. Didn’t even think about it. I made friends—But AA won’t work for me. I felt mostly happy and was getting along successfully in life—But AA won’t work for me. That little negative mantra finally became my truth when I drank two years later. I finally had the proof that AA won’t work for me.

I spent 11 years circling the drain

I spent 11 years circling the drain. Unhappy and depressed, I could still keep it together for all the world to see but I was completely miserable on the inside. Life became unbearable. I thought of leaving the planet. I searched my own mind for a solution and a tiny voice kept saying, “Go back to AA.” For a long time I dismissed it. Really, it was self-centered fear and pride that kept me from going back for such a long time. When finally I could not stand myself another day, I went to the Saturday Novato women’s meeting called Intimate Feelings. It is still my home group today.

I could keep it together for all the world to see

At the meeting I made a decision that I would do whatever was suggested. I got a sponsor. I took commitments. I did the steps with that sponsor. And again all the blessings that happened the first two years began to filter back into my life. I kept complaining that I didn’t “get the god angle.” Finally a friendly, helpful woman asked me if I still craved alcohol. This was one of my big issues during those 11 years—I constantly craved alcohol. I had to think about it for a few minutes, but I realized that I had not craved a drink since that fateful day that I surrendered (Miracle #2).

I started to believe that maybe, just maybe there really was a Higher Power, a GUS (Great Universal Spirit), or a GOD (Group of Drunks) that could restore me to sanity. And as the Twelve and Twelve says in Step 2, “I can’t say upon what occasion or upon what day I came to believe, but I certainly have that belief now. To acquire it, I had only to stop fighting and practice the rest of A.A.’s program as enthusiastically as I could” (p. 27). This was Miracle #3.

It is still my home group today

Since the day I made the decision to come back to AA, I have had more miracles in my life than I can possibly recount. I like to call them god-shots. Some are small and barely noticeable, like a subtle underlying peace in my everyday life. Some are big and flashy, like finding the love of my life in the rooms and being gloriously, happily married for over four years now. That is no small miracle indeed.

I make a concerted effort to turn my will and my life over every day. They say that you have to work the program so the program can work you. I have acquired willingness, openness and honesty by working the steps. I use prayer, meditation and a lot of 11th step reading and exploring. I read anything that helps me to believe and feel that my life is in divine order unfolding into goodness (a quote my husband uses all the time). In closing, I want to say that if a woman like me, who absolutely refused to believe in a Higher Power can come to believe and make a decision to surrender, so can you. You really can.

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