Grapevine Online Exclusive

Published June 2017.

After A Relapse, Hope

The voice of AA never left her, even as she hit bottom late one night in her fourth—and last—treatment center

My name is Mary and I am an alcoholic. I can't tell you how much gratitude and hope I have when I say that, because I believe it. I have gone to many meetings and announced myself in that manner, but something deep inside me that I now know to be ego always said: "But I'm not powerless, my life is not unmanageable." What I still hadn't realized in four years of going to three meetings a week or more was the paradox of AA. That you must surrender to get the power, that you must give it away to keep it, that you come in a big shot and work your way up to being of service.

I am a shining example of the fact that "Meeting makers don’t make it." Every time I "worked" a Step, I did it without sponsorship and put my twist on it. Every time I volunteered for a service position or poured someone a cup of coffee, it was so everyone else could see how humble I was. It seems ridiculous now, but I really thought I was doing something.

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