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August 1994

AA Will Get You If You Don't Watch Out

Hi. I'm Bob and I'm alcoholic. Saying those words has saved my life. I was first introduced to Alcoholics Anonymous back when I was sixteen years old. Finally, twenty-five years later, I'm celebrating two years of sobriety.

I knew I had a problem with drinking when I was still in high school. I used to tell people that I was an alcoholic, doing what alcoholics are supposed to do--namely drinking. I went through numerous detoxes and rehabs with the idea of just getting better physically so I could go out and drink again. I'd tell myself that I wouldn't get that bad again, but it always got worse.

I went through the whole gamut of tragedies. I've been in institutions and jails. I've been near death a few times with no pulse or blood pressure. I've lost a wife, children, homes, and have destroyed many other people's lives. I've lost parts of my body, namely parts of my stomach and pancreas and an entire gall-bladder to this disease, and still continued to drink. When I lived on the streets of Queens, New York, I'd be happy when I was vomiting blood instead of the alcohol I'd consumed. I was still convincing myself that I wasn't so bad.

While in detoxes and rehabs, I'd attend AA meetings because I had to. After being released, I'd continue to go only until I was physically well enough to drink again. I never listened or used any suggestions that were made at an AA meeting.

I don't know what happened, but after my last detox and rehab something just hit me. Here I was trying to beat alcohol. I've likened it to trying to put my head through a concrete wall. I decided to finally listen and try it the AA way. I figured that if it didn't work, I could always drink again.

I always thought I was beyond help, the sickest alcoholic alive. I learned I'm not. I started listening to people and using the suggestions they offered. I started getting involved. I got a temporary sponsor.

The first few months I didn't enjoy going to meetings but I went anyway. I couldn't deny that I was starting to feel better physically and spiritually. I got a job after being unemployable for ten years. I used to be very shy and introverted, but I'm getting better.

My home group is great. We hold speaker meetings, so we take a lot of speaking commitments to other groups. Being a member of a small group in the Poconos of Pennsylvania, I've had a lot of opportunities to speak. At first I was terrified and I still get nervous. But my love for sharing comes in hope that I can help another struggling alcoholic.

I've gotten involved in service work and begun taking the Twelve Steps with the help of my sponsor. I'm also enjoying the responsibility of sponsoring another person.

My life is now so bright and joyous, and it keeps getting better. I try to practice the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous in all my affairs. I ask my Higher Power each morning to give me the strength to do his will throughout the day. No matter what happens, he is always with me. My life has changed so much only because I surrendered, listened, and used AA suggestions.

In my opinion, no one is hopeless--as I thought I was. I choose to give myself a chance at life and I do it just one day at a time. I have so much to be grateful for.