From the August 1980 magazine.

5th Step

I HAVE NOW been sober for four years, as a direct result of the recovery program of AA. I arrived at this program only through the grace of God. The outside situations in my life were not indicative of the inner destruction that was killing me. My job, car, and house did not reflect my self-hatred, self-pity, depression, anger, pain, or desperate loneliness. My crowd of "friends" that attended social events with me did not reflect the absence of love in my life or the emptiness that I felt. My life was in perfect order on the outside, and the inner person was on the verge of death from the fatal disease of alcoholism. I had spent my whole life focusing on people, places, and things, while alcoholism slowly and powerfully consumed my inner self.

I had lived with the fear of dying from a car accident for many years.

-- J. G.

Portsmouth, Rhode Island

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