Grapevine Online Exclusive

Published November 2011.

Web Exclusive: Game Over

When she realized that doing the Steps was not a competition, she was able to move forward

"I had been treating the Steps like I was playing a board game and whomever got to the end first would win."

My name is Mary Lou and I am an alcoholic. I have been sober 32 years, which can be considered a long time, even old timer status. I frequently listen to the newcomer in AA and can truly feel those feelings, understand those fears and thoughts that occur in early recovery from alcoholism. In my own life, situations regularly occur that bring me back to the first step and keep me practicing the principles of AA in daily life. In my early days of sobriety, I didn't think too much about the Steps.

I was confused, unable to sleep, and continuously panic stricken. I remember certain people were kind to me, but even if someone wasn't, I still came back to the next meeting. I collected phone numbers (at one time I had 300). It made me feel secure, but I never called anyone. I struggled to maintain a job and got no relief from praying or practicing good orderly direction.

-- Mary Lou

Buffalo, New York

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