New to AA

561 replies [Last post]
Joined: 2011-06-06
Approaching AA for the first time

Hopefully you have attended your first meeting by now.
Personally I doubt that I would have ever had the courage
to enter an AA room alone, without having a few drinks. Since you hopefully have stopped drinking, please don't
resort to this as a solution. Maybe you or maybe your
therapist could contact an AA member by phone. Many phone
directories have a phone contact listed. Meet this person
at a location agreed upon, not just at the meeting. He/she
will take you by the hand if necessary, and will gladly
take you to the meeting and show you around. Most, if
not all, AA members will be thrilled to help you. Expect
some noisy chanting and some list of things you must do.
But there are no requirements to attend AA. Only a desire
to get well. Please don't let anyone push you away by
giving you directions. Choose your own "sponsor". It
may be that you choose your first contact, but please take
your time and don't let anyone pressure you. If someone
approaches you and says, "I will be your sponsor", simply
walk away. The same goes for "Joe, here will be your sponsor
and you will do what he says", quickly walk away. This is
not the way AA works, although many members and groups
are conducted this way. I only want you to have the same
chance for a sober life that was given to me, a life beyond my wildest dreams,indeed! ANONYMOUS

i feel your pain, i'm sure

i feel your pain,
i'm sure you have gotten an answer already but i'm 46 had the disease at 18. out of program for 10 yrs. drank hand ful of times in that time but very infrequently. tonight i'm going to my first meeting because this tricky disease is back in my life. i'll spare you the details. i'm fortunate enough to know what meetings have to offer from the past. get to a meeting,you can't imagine what its like looking into peoples eyes and knowing and hearing they know EXACTLY what you are going through, i'll be at a meeting in an hour in pa. i hope you are too.

i feel your pain, i'm sure

i feel your pain,
i'm sure you have gotten an answer already but i'm 46 had the disease at 18. out of program for 10 yrs. drank hand ful of times in that time but very infrequently. tonight i'm going to my first meeting because this tricky disease is back in my life. i'll spare you the details. i'm fortunate enough to know what meetings have to offer from the past. get to a meeting,you can't imagine what its like looking into peoples eyes and knowing and hearing they know EXACTLY what you are going through, i'll be at a meeting in an hour in pa. i hope you are too.

Joined: 2011-05-09
I have been in AA once

I have been in AA once before, so I can't really consider myself a newbie. Let's just say I am the stubborn one who thought I can handle it. However when I got ahold of the bull by the horns, the bull flung me in the wrong direction.

Depression is what causes me to drink. I am a victim of child sex abuse and a victim of rape and have a hard time being around older men I don't know. I even attempted suicide once shortly after the rape but was obviously unsuccessful. So, I finally decided that I need to get myself together if I truly want to be successful and in love with life.

I am not religous either by any means, but not athiest. So the whole spiritual side of AA is something I will try to get used to! I am sorry to be a little blunt, but honesty is what I treasure most when it comes to meeting new people!

Joined: 2011-06-11
You are Not Alone!

I have a similar story as you do. I was raised in a very abusive, negative, shaming home. The only way that I could get love is to let the boys do what they wanted with me. I started drinking at the age of 12. I had black-outs from the beginning.

My virginity was taken and I do not remember, but I know it was a black-out and not a pass out. I don't remember even getting into bed, but when I woke up, I realized that something was different! (If I had passed out then someone would have to have snuck me in and up the creeky stairs in that old house ... and if that happened I would have been beaten real bad.

That was the first of hundreds of dirty secrets that I couldnt' purge until I did my 4th and 5th steps.

Many rapes in black-outs after that. Left in the woods - miles from home. Wasn't sure where I was - just walked and walked ... all the time pretending that nothing was wrong.

I have no shame anymore!!

The best Gift I found in AA was that I was not alone! I learned how to live decently. I learned how to take ownership of myself instead of giving me away all the time to people who didn't deserve me.

Freedom to know that I do count ... and I am enjoying this newfound Freedom SOBER!

You are not Alone!

Joined: 2011-06-02

Unfortunately your story of abuse and relapse is a common one. Some women become hypersensitive when the mood altering substance isn't present. Take your recovery one day at a time. Get a sponsor, and begin working on steps.
Your SA issues will be addressed in the steps as well, resentment from something stolen from you.. It may be something you deal with this portion of the steps with a trusted mental health counselor who is trained in dealing with sex abuse.

My spouse was abused by her father during one of his drunken stupors. She isn't one of us, but struggles with serious depression and thoughts.. It will take a patient sponsor.
Learning how to have a healthy trusting relationship with same sex sponsor can provide you a way to work on things.

Do "pine" for a loving relationship, one will come when you are ready.

On the higher power things most of us take it in piece meal.
Myself a born again agnostic. I was raised in a mainstream religion and found "religion" lacking spirituality. I've come to find the notion of being a spiritual being a growing and changing thing. I don't take much stock in religion to this day.

"Depression is what causes me to drink."

Something that has been really hard for me to accept is that depression and anxiety are not what cause me to drink. I drink because I'm an alcoholic. I would drink when I was happy and when I was sad. I've been in the program for a couple months, and I'm starting to realize that depression didn't cause my drinking, drinking caused my depression. I've gotten in touch with my higher power, and I no longer feel that sense of hopelessness.

right on

Hi, I too have had the same experience. My depression is lifting, it takes work but it sure is better now than before. I hope you still feel good.

Joined: 2011-05-06
The Newcomer

Like most newcomers I arrived to the rooms a mess. Physically, mentally and spiritually I meet all the common ailments. I was to learn there is something wonderfully reassuring to be a regular garden variety drunk. After two plus decades of drinking I was not where I wanted to be in life and I was sure it was the fault of others.

My early adulthood was one of adventure. Travel, new experiences and cultures became a way of coping with not feeling comfortable in my own skin. Onward I went, too far flung places where new people and excitement were met with the same old me. I’m lucky to be able to say there were many great times.

Then came that time a Customs agent, upon review my passport stated “You sure looked better in the photograph”. The remark became a funny joke among friends but inside I knew time had passed and my life was getting away from me. Years of forcing life to bend to my terms left me angry and alone.

Towards the end of my drinking career I was able to piece together about three years of white knuckling it. But that, as we know, did not lead to emotional sobriety. If anything I got worse emotionally sinking into a major depression. Trading drinks for a string of meaningless sex eroded my soul and risked my health.

In the last year of my white knuckling, life events hit me and I’d not built any support system nor did I have the strength to endure hard times. One December we had an intervention with my mother that exploded in our faces with ramifications felt for years. Additionally, I was unable to start and maintain a stable relationship. Despair settled in and drug usage lead back to drinking which moved quickly into uncontrollable drinking.

For two more years I drank at my problems and to indulgently celebrate successes. Slowly alcohol demanded more and more of me. I’d been aware since college that I was a binge drinker. As binges got longer and more frequent, anger ruled me. Not being able to find a man or a woman to partner with my nights were empty and passing out was my only comfort. Thoughts of suicide plagued me and one very drunk night I made an attempt.

My sexuality plays a part in my drinking. I dated woman in college; three relationships gave me comfort and love. But, there was more to me and fear sent me running to the endless parties and drugs of my 20’s. As a Peace Corps Volunteer I came to the realization I was gay and that I needed to accept it. After two years abroad I returned home and for the next 10 years I lived a gay lifestyle. I came out to family and friends then fall in love with a man.

In true alcoholic and alanonic fashion I became co-dependent and fell under his control, suffering emotional abuse. My drinking during that time was heavy. One time I stopped for four months but got no support from my partner and was even harassed into drinking again. It was not till he started getting physically abusive was I able to end the partnership. Emotionally, mentally and spiritually handicapped I spent the first four months of my new found freedom very drunk and promiscuous.

I ran away. I was lost in life and ran to South America to get lost from everything. But, of course I was unable to get lost from myself and my defects of character dogged me wherever I went. Wanting others to fix me, fears I was not likeable, playing director of my own destiny and being degraded as a man at every turn, led to a self-indulgent seven months traveling alone.

It was in South America I started what was to be my three years of white knuckling it. From a serendipitous string of events after South America, I found myself living and working in Sri Lanka. And low and behold I had a crush on a woman and we spent as much time together as we could. My departure from Sri Lanka was a sad farewell to a wonderful lover who renewed my faith in life.

Upon returning to the States I denied my bisexuality just as I had denied my homosexual tendency in high school and college. I was back home and back in the rat race. Within time my old life came back, drinking and drugging my fears and confusion.

The first person I ever came out to as bisexual was my sponsor. I began to face my fears of not being accepted by the straight or gay communities. It was in working my fourth and fifth steps that I started to see how alcohol was my answer to the insufficient coping skills my defects of character offered. When I could not control life, I drank. When I felt unloved or unlikable and not gay enough for the gay community, I drank. When no relationship could fix my problems, I drank. When I felt not man enough for the straight community I drank and drank and drank away how degraded I felt.

One morning after two weeks of binge drinking I woke up in the middle of the night. Through the blur of a hangover I perceived how insane I’d become. Relying on a favored meditation technique I tried to count my breaths to 50. It took three attempts but I got there. Unable to fall back to sleep I headed into work early. On the drive to work that cold dark December morning I realized my weekend plans were to drink it away and included the possibility I’d drink myself to death. I was resigned to the fact I could not stop myself and there was no reason to try.

Then it came to me. The God of my understanding gave me a moment of clarity in which a tiny seed of a thought was planted. Tired and hung-over at my desk attempting to muddle through another morning, the thought of going to an A. A. meeting crossed my mind like a tiny candle being lit in a large dark room. A rush of willingness ran through my veins as I goggled the closest meeting.

By noon that flicker of a candle had grown to into a flashing array of light suited for an ambulance carrying a man on his death bed. By the end of the hour I was in tears, was given some blue book and a scrap of paper with a phone number. I drove back to work a shattered man who thought maybe, just maybe he’d found help.

That first meeting was five long months ago. In that time I’ve admitted myself to an alcohol rehabilitation clinic and attended meetings daily. But more importantly, I’ve admitted defeat to alcohol, found God and decided to turn my life over.

I pray morning noon and night that God help me see the signs he’s placed for me to follow his way of life. I pray God allow me to be his man on scene, his agent on the ground. With reckless abandon I listed out everything that was burning me up. Flush with anticipation and fear I drove to my sponsor’s home to admit to him and God the exact nature of my wrongs. I’ve ridden the ups and downs of learning what it means to become entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. I’ve been freely given a way to know myself better and have had the opportunity to clearly observe my defects in action.

Humility has never been my M.O. Like that line in the movie American Beauty “I don't think that there's anything worse than being ordinary.” I believed that to be true. But now I feel the awesome wonder of being an ordinary garden verity drunk because there is a program that can help me that’s helped millions around the globe.

Now I long to be just a man among men, a worker among workers a recovering alcoholic among millions of others. I want to humbly ask God to remove my shortcomings so I can help “his will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Scot B.

Any Lengths


I was touched by your story and the feelings of not fitting in to either/any community. It's hard to admit things about myself that might make me less popular or versatile to anyone or group I may want to impress or feel that I can fit in with. But the more I have come to know myself through sharing with another alcoholic (this would have been my sponsor, whom I just lost after 25 years of work together) the more I have come to see that I can't try to be anything other than what I truly am.

It's wonderful that you have a sponsor you really can share with and that you are ready to become the person your higher power intended you to be.

Thank you for sharing your story with us.

Chaula H.
Pittsfield, MA

Find a new one

Hi Chaula,

Thanks for your thoughts and kind words. Wow, 25 years with a sponsor is amazing. I've had mine for a few months and he has me working the steps. I'm not sure how I came to trust him so much. I guess in part I was lucky. He's the guy who called out my name to greet me as I walked into a meeting. In addition to lucky, I intentionally took the risk of being hurt as I started to open up. By the time I was ready for my fifth step I had a powerful internal drive to “put it all out on the table.”

I hope you are able to find a new sponsor and have the continued opportunity to share your story.

Scot B.

Post new comment