From the June 2009 magazine.

Being myself

I WAS resentful most of my life, blaming others for my circumstances and not realizing I had created the drama and the chaos. About the time I was to pick up my first-year chip, I was unsure I deserved it, so I never picked it up. I was proud of myself, but took more credit than I should have. I sometimes forgot that the support of God and AA kept me afloat. Sometimes I felt that I got nothing from meetings, because I already knew right from wrong. But I needed more, I soon learned, and I have never since forgotten that. After a few years I had only learned a little, but I listened to people. I was opening up for meetings, making coffee, and cleaning ashtrays. I had the "we" of the program drilled into me by old-timers. "Give of yourself and get it back twofold."

I gained some wisdom, but just enough to carry the message--not the alcoholic. Sponsoring a few guys was educational, but I had to practice what I preached. I pray to be a friend and give some of the guidance that I've received. I feel better about my life one day at a time. Working the Steps and applying them make the difference in being happy and sober.


Oakridge, Tenn.

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