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Glad there is another way

John D, Massachusetts, USA

I'd like to believe that AA got me, I didn't get AA.

My first exposure to AA was around 1982. I had just got arrested for DWI. The court appointed me to a program called CASP. I believe it stood for Court Appointed Study Program.

Anyway, they labeled me a "problem drinker." Not to be funny (it was really naive of me) I bluntly said to the counselor "I don't drink over my problems, so how could you say I'm a problem drinker?"

I attended the meetings just to satisfy the court and to get through it. Little did I know that the seed had been planted in me. I did go and listen, but I didn't try to identify with any of the speakers. I continued thinking I was in the clear, and that I just needed to watch out from then on.

I went on with my routine but something had changed. I started to actually think about the pattern that I had gotten into. I would start considering what days I would drink and what days I wouldn't. I thought about what I should drink and how much. I know now that social drinkers probably never put limits or expectations on drinking.

Anyway I would continue on for another 4 years of “controlled drinking" if you will. In August of 1986 I was on a spree that I hope was my last. I woke up on Monday morning, I didn't talk to anyone or see anyone, I just got in my car and drove around aimlessly. I don't even know if I had been heading to work or not, it just didn't matter.

Later that morning I found myself sitting looking out at a lake, thinking and feeling that I was going to die. I didn’t know how or when, I just knew I was going to die. I headed home, but first I needed to get something to eat. As I waited for my food, a thought or an inner voice came to me and said “you’ve got to stop drinking."

For some reason I followed through with that thought. I went to a rehab and did what they told me to do. I was released and attended several meetings, but I had a hard time with it. I still had denial. I didn't believe I was an alcoholic. I just wanted the insanity to stop and to try and put my life in order.

I started slowly to pull away from AA but the Grace of God had other plans. Two of my co-workers were in AA, and they saw right through me. One gave me Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions and the other handed me his Big Book. I asked "What am I going to do with this?” He replied, "Figured you might need something to read on a Saturday night."

I had asked my other co-worker if we could get together and talk, and she said "Yeah, sure, how about Friday night? I'll meet at this church for an 8:30 meeting." I really didn't want to attend the meeting, I just wanted to talk with someone, although I’m not sure what my reasons were.

I did attend that meeting and wouldn't you know they had set the meeting up just for me (so I thought). After asking my friend if she had told these people I was attending that night, she clearly told me what was happening is that I was identifying.

Amazing -- I could swear I must have associated with the speaker at some point during my drinking career. I was identifying. I finally was able to hear what was happening to me every time I drink. I am one of the lucky ones really, I feel.

I was able to get a sense of belonging. I attended more meetings. I became involved. I got a sponsor, I got a Higher Power, and I was able to get involved with the steps and follow the path to recovery. That is why I am glad there was another way of living.

I thank my Higher Power each day and realize how the promises had come true as were presented in the Big Book. I am so grateful that I had the willingness to grow in this fellowship. For sure I know I would have died not knowing there was another way.

Thank you, John D Grateful Alcoholic.

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