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March 1994

The Third Eye

Tradition Three

My name is Larry T., and I'm an alcoholic. I am also many other things, including a member of the Ft. Worth Lambda AA Group. Three years ago I wouldn't have been able to say that to anyone, but by the grace of God and the acceptance I have found at my home group, I've been able to face the secret that was keeping me sick.

My sobriety date is July 10, 1991, but the first time I walked through the doors of an AA group was June 12, 1987. There were many sobriety dates between those two, but those are the only ones I remember: the first one, and, I pray God, the last one. My first four years in the program were characterized by an honest desire to stop drinking and a total inability to do so. During those years, I was attending meetings almost daily at an extremely loving and Big-Book-based "straight" group. I tried my best to work the Steps and do what the old-timers suggested, but I was never able to string together more than four months, one day at a time. At thirty-five years of age, I still hadn't faced the truth that had contributed more than any other single thing toward my drinking: I am homosexual. Lacking the strength and courage that I have since seen other gay alcoholics exhibit, I was determined that this was the one secret that I would take to my grave. So I sat in meetings day after day and listened to other AAs unload about problems with wives and girlfriends and get some relief from their burdens, while I sat silently and felt more and more apart. I have since learned that the sexual orientation I think I was born with didn't matter to the overwhelming majority of my fellow AAs; they just wanted me to get the program and find the happiness that they had found. But I was too damaged when I got here to risk sharing the truth about myself.

Please don't misunderstand: I believe that anyone, despite race, educational or economic background, sexual orientation or any other factor, can recover from alcoholism in any group in the world that adheres to the Twelve Steps as outlined in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. I also know that gaining that recovery depends absolutely on facing the truth about who and what we are, and that I was unable to do so in the group that I attended when I first found AA.

What finally made the difference when I discovered the Lambda Group was not any special magic I found there. It was what was taken from me: the last excuse I had for drinking. My life had become such a drunken nightmare of despair that I had run out of all other excuses, but I could always fall back on the old standby that the other people in my first group didn't understand--couldn't understand--what I was going through in my struggle with my sexuality. This was one form of uniqueness that I felt justified my continuing slips. When I got to Lambda, I saw something that I had never seen before--other gay alcoholics who were staying sober and leading happy and productive lives devoid of the self-loathing and self-pity I had wallowed in for so many years. My last excuse was gone. I was home at last!

Recently, I realized that, like most alcoholics, I had always felt somehow different from the people around me. It was as though I had been born with a third eye in the middle of my forehead. I could comb my hair down and cover it up and pretend to be like everyone else, but I always knew that my third eye was there, and that it made me different. When I walked nervously into my first AA meeting, I was thrilled to find a roomful of people with third eyes in the middle of their foreheads, just like me. But after the fog had lifted and a little reality set in, I began to notice that everyone else in the group had brown third eyes while mine was blue. I was still apart. Then, I found the Lambda Group and, for the first time in my life, found other people with blue eyes. And those eyes were clear and bright and happy to see me!

I am overjoyed to report that, if God as I understand him sees fit to keep me sober for three more days, I will have two years of continuous sobriety. My life is rich and full in ways that I could not have imagined during the black despair of my drinking days. My profession, my health, my family and so much more have been returned to me, and I have experienced a joyous freedom that I never dreamed could be mine. This was all made possible by a willingness to follow the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, not by the Ft. Worth Lambda Group. But it was the acceptance and understanding that I found there that allowed me to face the truth about myself, and so to begin recovery at last.

Alcoholics, probably more than most people, have a need to fit in and feel a part of things. Special-interest groups can fill that need. If even one alcoholic can find the road to recovery in a special-interest group, then such a group is justified. I am one alcoholic who did, and I'm eternally grateful for having had the opportunity for a new life that my particular special-interest group afforded me. Indeed, I am sure that I owe my very life to having found Lambda, for it was there that I found AA, and it was in AA that I found God, and it has been through the grace of God that I have found a new way of living.

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