Nothing Changes If Nothing Changes – Grapevine Article by Jeff H.

Hitting bottom even in sobriety, he discovered that hard-won change can be a life saver

Like most slogans or other phrases people repeated so terribly often when I first arrived into the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous, I thought this one was meaningless. Nothing changes if nothing changes? What could be more obvious?

It turned out it wasn’t quite that obvious, after all. At least to me.

I came in to the rooms in January 1999, certain I was not quite as bad as the rest of you. I bought and read the Big Book, “working” the Steps as I went (well, those that seemed applicable). It was a breeze! I didn’t need help from someone else, thank you.

Sobriety didn’t stick the first time and I attributed that to that pesky second half of Step One. I did not consider my life to be unmanageable. After all, I only came in because my wife had a problem with my drinking.

In July 1999, I began again with a renewed conviction that I was alcoholic and that my life was unmanageable. Yet I still did not find it necessary to get a sponsor, until I felt pressured by my fellows to get one, so finally I did. I did not, however, call him or inform

him that I had not done the Steps with someone else. My life went on like before, with the exception that I was not drinking. I even took a few commitments here and there and was willing to do Twelfth Step work. Strangely, no one approached me to be their sponsor.

Seven years would pass and my life spiraled further down to new and more humiliating lows. Finally, I crashed without ever picking up a drink. I was brought to my knees and humbled like never before. It was right then that I became willing to go to any length to change. I got a sponsor, worked the Steps, got into service work, and truly joined the Fellowship. I soon learned there were only three things I must be: honest, open-minded and willing. There are also only three things I must do: Unity (Fellowship); Service (even beyond the Fellowship); and Recovery (living the Steps on a daily basis). And, at last, I understood the true meaning behind this valuable saying: Nothing changes if nothing changes. It’s corollary? Everything can change, if you let it.

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