The New Me – Grapevine Article April 1964 by G.H

Here’s one way to meet an “unforgettable character.

I, TOO, can boast of having met an unforgettable character. Me!

I know this person only slightly. Our awareness of each other began only three years ago when I was reborn, through the AA program, into a brand new way of life.

At first my attention was riveted on the wonder and glory of the miracle of my sobriety. I didn’t believe this could be possible after so many years of constant concentration on getting that first drink, once I had earned the money to buy it. For thirty-two years my life had been an earnest effort to fool everybody as only a died-in-the-wool drunk can.

My routine hardly ever varied. I was stubbornly dedicated to the great god Bacchus and his world of fantasy, which, in my poor rum-soaked sodden brain, represented the ultimate in joyous living. This kept me going with false stamina until I reached a merciful breaking point, which could only have been the Grace of God. I had a brain hemorrhage. (This, I truly believe was when the new me was born.)

The brain hemorrhage paralyzed my throat and tongue, leaving me mute. I had often heard the expression “shut your mouth and open your ears, and you might learn something.” Now the saying really meant something to me, and in quiet, and I mean “quiet,” desperation I did listen. I sought the program as a refuge, which suited me to perfection. Twenty-four hours, One Day at a Time. How good these words sounded to me. The past is gone, forget it. How wonderful. Easy Does It. But for the Grace of God. Above all, the miracle of happy, contented sobriety, with that compulsion for booze completely removed, placed me on Cloud Nine; a wonderful feeling of gratitude warmed me and carried me through the initial period of paralysis which is the hardest to endure.

Then came my school days–absorbing the lessons and teachings of the AA program. “Carry the message” seemed so impossible to me with my handicap, but I became active in a group, helping as best I could.

Then the miracles really started. My voice started to come back. I could make noises. Incoherent, I grant you, but noises.

I had been a nursing supervisor when this thing struck me, and my career was smashed to pieces, but there was another miracle. I obtained a good job in research because of my nursing experience.

I’ve lived almost four years now with this handicap, but so much progress has been made with my life so far, I know I will speak again. The inner strength and serenity I have found in AA, and the conviction that I have the best therapist there is, working hand in hand with me every day, assure me of this. I shall never cease to wonder at the availability of God, as I choose to call our Higher Power, who in His divine way comes to each of us when we are sincere in seeking His help.

Part of the new me is an absolute faith, undoubting in its expectancy of His grace and mercy. This conscious contact with God has been revealed to me only through the spiritual part of the AA program.

I can only say to the new member, “Give yourself a break and try talking to Him a few times a day in all sincerity and humility and you will be amazed.” Another suggestion is to take a stab at that Third Step. You can’t lose; that is I can’t. I’m grateful for having met my most unforgettable character–the new me who, one day at a time, is growing up in AA and loving it.

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