From the Story Archive: May 1986
"I sobered up at age fifteen, and if you're wondering when I started drinking, it was when I was eleven"
For some reason, I just started thinking about my first year of sobriety and remembering details more clearly than I was previously able to. I am coming up on my twenty-first biological birthday and my sixth AA birthday.
Yes, I sobered up at age fifteen, and if you're wondering when I started drinking, it was when I was eleven. Of course, I'm an addict also, so that helped get me to AA a lot faster.
My drinking story is not much different from yours except that alcohol wasn't as easy for me to get, so I made sure that I ran with people who could get it. We drank whatever and used whatever, to get as loaded as we possibly could. My drunks were fairly protected because my "friends" watched out for me, so I didn't go to jail or a hospital, but I now know that was only through God's grace. And, of course, I was still living at home, so I didn't have to fend for myself while I was drinking. If I had I surely would've been a goner.
Even with all this confusion in my head, the part of my story that gets really strange is my first year of sobriety.
My first sponsor was a "ninety-seven-pound weakling." I remember first "wanting what she had" after seeing her at an AA dance. At the time I was only a couple of months sober. She was young, she was a good dancer (I was too), and I watched her. She was also very thin, and having always been overweight enough to bother me, I was envious of her size.
I guess I didn't meet or speak to her until a couple of months later (in those days I wasn't apt to just saunter up and introduce myself -- I was very hostile). But when I heard her talk in a meeting, I found she was a year younger than I and had six months more sobriety. I don't remember officially meeting her or asking her to sponsor me, but we soon became close. We were to spend almost every weekend night of the following several months at late meetings, coffee afterward, and then all-night rap sessions. I needed that because I was unable to tell anyone how different I felt. I saw all these sober people with years on the program, and my insides just didn't match their outsides, and I was too self-willed to ask anyone for direction of any kind, especially involving the Steps.
At any rate, when I was eleven months sober and had left my mother's home the month before and moved into my sponsor's previous residence -- a $40-a-month single garage with a bathroom next door by the neighbor's pool -- I was in the definite process of a nervous breakdown. She came to see me and told me to do the Third Step with her. I told her to get out of my house, and what did she mean by do the Step with her? You see, in my insanity, I thought the book said not to do the Step with anyone, lest they might misunderstand. How she must've chuckled at this. Well, that night, we did the Third Step together on our knees and shortly thereafter I came out of the breakdown and headed for my first AA birthday.
The specialness of my first year, with all my insanity and the patience my sponsor showed me, I shall be grateful for forever. Had I not been able to develop a foundation in sobriety through her friendship, I might never have made it this far.
And I leave you with this: If you ever think you are overdue for a miracle in your life, just remember you're right in the middle of one.
-Anonymous, Palm Springs, California