Out of Ideas – Grapevine Article by G.P.

After coming in and out of AA , she began taking suggestions from a sponsor

When I was 16, I was introduced to AA by my mother who had three years of sobriety at the time. I believed in God and I prayed almost every day. I didn’t trust people and I knew I couldn’t drink like other people. As I sat in meetings, I focused on the differences.

I could go days or weeks without drinking but I identified that once I took a sip of alcohol, I couldn’t stop. The phenomena of craving would come over me instantaneously within the first sip, awakening this monster inside me that screamed for more.

I couldn’t control my drinking. Countless people tried to cut me off and to get me to slow down. So, I would sneak drinks, make different friends, or throw a fit until I got my way. Once I would attain the level of ease and comfort I sought, I would then keep drinking because I was terrified of that feeling going away.

Back then there weren’t many young people in AA. Most young people I did meet were recovering from heroin or other hard drugs and I couldn’t relate to them. I labeled them as “bad” and I definitely did not want to be friends with them.

Under the illusion that I wasn’t as “bad” as everyone else, I concluded that I didn’t need to get a sponsor and I didn’t need to work the Steps. I am grateful for the old timers because they instilled the solution in me.

Through attending AA meetings, I was able to abstain from alcohol for a little over two years. Physical sobriety seemed to work and I was relatively happy. I had a part-time job, spoke to over one thousand freshman during my senior year of high school about the importance of staying away from drugs and alcohol, graduated with honors, joined my local county’s sheriff program for young people, and took college courses in criminal justice in pursuit of becoming an FBI agent.

Around this time, my first boyfriend of a couple years left me for another girl and I found out that he had been cheating on me. I did not have any tools to deal with this heartache and I wasn’t going to AA meetings any longer.

I went to a party with some friends like I always had done before without craving a drink. I was offered a beer by an acquaintance, and I automatically said, “Yes.” I drank two that night. I convinced myself that evening that I wasn’t an alcoholic and my uncontrollable drinking had been a phase.

My alcoholism progressed however and I started blacking out regularly and coming to in horrific situations. Whenever I saw that my life was turning for the worst and I was going to potentially ruin my life, I would go back to AA meetings.

For the next five years, I was in an out of AA like a revolving door. Each time I tried, I would achieve six to eleven months of sobriety. Things would get better: I would get a job, a car, a boyfriend and then I would forget that I was an alcoholic and eventually stop going to meetings. I would get resentments against people in AA, and try some controlled drinking.

Each time I would relapse, it would get worse, never better. I did things when I was out there drinking to survive that I had sworn I would never do. Things that I am not proud of and I now must deal with because they are coming to light and resurfacing these five years later. My alcoholism progressed to the point where I could not go a week without drinking. I was completely miserable, powerless and my life was unmanageable.

I finally surrendered last year. I started taking direction from my sponsor, even when I didn’t always agree with her. I knew I was out of ideas and I let her voice into my head.

I went to 90 meetings in 90 days, I got a commitment at each meeting I went to. I would go to the meetings early and leave late. I put my old friends on hold and made new friends in AA. I got a full-time job, I put money in the basket at meetings, and I made amends and my life began to change.

I had a whole year of sobriety a few, short months ago. I have begun to trust others, I show up to work on time, I don’t call out, I have a great relationship with my all of my family members and I’m trusted. I have a sponsee who has been sober a little over three months now and we are halfway done with Step Four.

When times get tough, I have tools to pick up or another alcoholic to help. Drinking is no longer an option or obsession. I knew that this program worked but I now have begun to experience the true meaning of the sayings, “Keep coming back, it only works if you work it!” and “One day at a time.”

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