From the March 2012 magazine.

Starting at Zero

It took a long time of being in AA before he could take the First Step

Perhaps most of us have taken the First Step before ever getting to an AA meeting, but that wasn't the case with me. I went because I was worried about losing a job and blowing my resume, and for a shoulder to cry on but was far short of the Third Tradition, much less the First Step. I guess step zero for me was admitting to myself that should do something about my drinking. I was hesitant to come to AA because the one thing I knew about it was that is was about stopping drinking, not just trying to control it, so I was about as afraid that it would work as I was that it didn't. I would have preferred to go to something like Weekend Drinkers Fellowship, but the only place I knew of that had anything to do with drinking problems was AA.

When I looked at the First Step, I had to admit that my life was screwed up, but didn't know what it meant to be "powerless over alcohol." Most of the time I enjoyed drinking, didn't get into much trouble (not having a car helped with that) and woke up the next morning in a dry bed with a fairly clear memory of the night before. That reminds me that I recently saw a guy in a T-shirt that said, "Sorry about last night." It took a couple years for me to figure out that the problem I could do something about was alcoholism, not alcohol, and that the real problem was living in sobriety and not just staying dry.

-- Jim


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