Grapevine Online Exclusive

Published May 2011.

Web Exclusive: Too Much is Never Enough

An AA member wrestles with financial insecurity for years before coming to terms with living simply

"Having more than I need to meet my simple wants could do more harm than good.

Fear of economic insecurity was a prime reason I got to AA.  I had moved from Illinois to Sydney in 1973, mainly because I couldn't find a job and the Australian economy was in better shape than the American one then. I managed to get a job teaching at a Catholic boy's high school. That was pretty scary, but I had a feeling that I wouldn't be able to find another one if I lost it, and felt like I was on the verge of doing that. I came to AA not being able to picture life without drinking, but thinking that I would soon be out of the job that provided me with the money for drinking if it I didn't do something about it. Back then one of my favorite quotations was, "Work is the curse of the drinking class."

I recall hearing at meetings that getting money early in sobriety was dangerous as it could finance a spree.  At one meeting, a guy said that he wouldn't drink if someone offered him a million dollars. I recall thinking that I sure would if that guy ever made me that offer. I recall that I was thinking that I could have someone stop me and give some to charity to make it moral. Actually now I can see that would have been unlikely to happen. I got to AA at 28 when alcohol was doing about as much for me as to me, and the worst thing it had done to me was make it difficult to hang onto a job. So I doubt it would have taken me more than one drink to start thinking that, with that much money, there would be little reason to stay sober. 

-- Jim F.

Tasmania, Australia

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