I wanted what sober Alcoholics Anonymous members had
I first came to AA, compulsorily in hospital, after a dreadful episode where I had been strapped down in Casualty apparently for kicking a policeman.
A kindly man asked me if I had suffered enough. I assured him I had and after leaving hospital went to AA for fear of an immediate return to the aggressive lunatic that my originally shy self had become.
But as I see it now, I joined AA – the club. I attended nine meetings a week, and no-one was more surprised than I, when six months dry, I was hospitalised again, with my life just as unmanageable with out a drink.
On discharge I attacked the problem with renewed vigour. I did the fourth and fifth step (as I thought) and continued my meetings as before.
Slowly, but surely things became worse and after twelve months I drank. I didn’t know why. Same hospital, same bed, same me. And so it continued, but the periods dry became shorter, the periods in hospital longer. AA seemed to be changing me into a bender drinker. What was wrong? I knew the answer was there. I wanted what they had, didn’t I.
Finally my life was a total shambles. No family, no friends, no job, no shelter, no credibility anywhere and very little sanity. But the glimmer I had left told me that I had been a conditional AA member. “I’ll stay sober as long as things don’t get too tough or until the craving becomes too much or until I have my life organised.”
I hadn’t done the First Step. So I said the three magic words “I am beaten” and put a little effort into AA that I had put into drinking. I made staying sober the most important thing in my life for the first time, and threw away the pills I clung to throughout.
It was tough, the first three months was a sleepless shaking hell, but I knew it would get better, and at meetings I got a semblance of calm. I spoke of myself, of how I had been and how I was, how angry bitter and fearful I had become.
I believed, and still believe that nothing is too shocking, boring or trivial to share with other alcoholics. I went to fifty meetings in fifty days, then another fifty and so on. Slowly, imperceptibly, I got better as I had been promised.
And I worked to change the twisted attitudes that had kept me drunk.
Lately, members have been saying I am a different person from the one who crawled through the door a short eleven months ago. I feel it. For the first time in my life I feel worthwhile, that I have a right to be here. I can face a day at a time the reality I dreaded so much all my life. And it is all due to the fellowship and the philosophy of AA.