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September 1956

Missed: One Meeting

IT TOOK ME A LONG TIME to become convinced that I was an alcoholic. I batted around the country for about ten years, drinking my way from one job to another. I never got fired from a Job. . . I'd get drunk and quit. Every time I woke up with a hangover, I swore that I wouldn't take another drink, but I always wound up in another bar on another drunk.

One day, a friend of mine asked me if I would like to go to an AA meeting. I said, "Sure, why not?" I didn't figure they had anything that would do me any good, but I thought I'd humor him.

Well, somebody must have said something at that meeting that hit home, because I found myself staying sober. It was a great feeling and I began to get pretty cocky. I became convinced that I wouldn't ever drink again and I made a point of bragging about my sobriety to everybody who would listen.

After I had been sober for about two months I got a big brainstorm. I decided I would do some Twelfth Step work and bring a lot of new guys into AA. I figured if I could do that, all the older members in the group would think I was a "good fellow."

Most of the roomers in the hotel where I stayed were sheep-herders who had come in from the range with their pockets full of money, ready for a good time. (To them, a good time meant to stay drunk until all their money was gone)

I started out on my project with a full head of steam, but after about one month I was ready to chuck the whole thing. The guys I talked to wouldn't have anything to do with AA. They said they weren't alcoholics--they were just having fun.

I did get one of them talked into going to a meeting. I told him he should be sober when he went, and he promised that he would be: but when the time came to go to the meeting he was so drunk he could barely walk.

I gave up right then. I was so disgusted that I didn't go to the meeting myself. It was the first one I had missed, but I figured I could afford to stay away--I wasn't going to drink anymore!

How wrong I was. The next night I let temptation get the better of me and I really went on a good one. That was the beginning of the end. . .three weeks later the front gate of the prison closed behind me.

I have attended every meeting since I have been here, and from now on, no matter where I am or how I feel, I'm not going to miss that AA meeting.

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