From the September 2007 magazine.

Step Nine: Captain Chaos

An AA realizes the high cost of "freebies

I made up my own definition for the word "freebie" when I was in my late teens and already an alcoholic. The word described when I got out of doing something I really didn't want to do, but didn't want anyone to know it. For instance, if someone else had to cancel a meeting that I didn't want to show up for--it was a "freebie." Not only did I get out of it, but I also got credit for doing something I didn't do. Does that make sense?

Then, along came sobriety, the Steps, and my sponsor. My sponsor said, "You better do a Fifth before you pick up a fifth." I did my Fifth Step right before my first anniversary. Although it took months for me to do Steps Six and Seven (a story of its own involving stealing but finally making it through the grocery store without grazing), I finally got to Steps Eight and Nine. My first wife was on my list of amends. When the kids were teenagers, we'd gotten divorced, after being married for over seventeen years. When I was coming up on a couple years of sobriety, I went to see her to make amends. She said, "Oh, I know what you're going to do. I'm just glad you're sober, and you don't have to do this." The book says we don't push anyone who doesn't want it. Wow, I thought, a great big freebie.

-- Skitch F.

Albuquerque, New Mexico

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