I Only Drank 3 Beers!
December 2022 | Remote Communities & Sober Holidays | Newcomers

I Only Drank 3 Beers!

A newcomer finds out the hard way about the power of liquor and the heartbreak of relapse

One time I sat in a meeting called the Happy Hour Group and shared, “I want to be happy,” which made everybody laugh. Well, I certainly wasn’t coming back to a group where they laughed at me! So I went back to my safe little group around the corner from my house.

I pretty much lived at that group, as I no longer trusted myself in my home, which had literally become my bar at the end of my drinking. I did not come into AA via treatment or suggestions from law enforcement. I knew at some level my soul was dying. I shook so badly I sat on my hands to stop them from shaking, which I now know can be dangerous.

I did not get a sponsor. I felt that I did not need another “parent.” I read the Steps and was finished with them. When someone gave me their phone number, I informed them I wasn’t gay. I judged negatively anyone who spoke at meetings, and I did not make conscious contact with God, as he was surely busy helping others. Truth be told, I was mad as hell at all the gods! But I kept going to meetings because I knew no one would offer me a drink there.

Then one day someone made a comment I didn’t like at a meeting. I was so mad that I “drank at” them. Does “I’ll drink poison to make you die” sound familiar to anyone else? But I figured that since I only drank three beers, that meant I wasn’t an alcoholic. I had three weeks sober, after all. I must be cured. Birds were flying out of the sky and landing on me, literally. 

Yet the next morning, I found myself drinking Kentucky bourbon out of the bottle. I was in and out of consciousness most of the day. I do remember getting asked to leave a VFW hall due to my behavior. One thing I know is that drinking alcohol is like pouring Miracle Gro on your character defects.

I never want to forget how horrible I felt the next morning. My hair hurt and my eyes were swollen from crying. What I was crying about, I still have no idea. I felt like my tongue needed to be shaved and 1,000 pins were shooting out of every pore of my body. That’s when I went back to AA and got my second and, I sincerely hope, last white chip. 

I started taking all the AA suggestions a lot more seriously—especially, “Take the cotton out of your ears and put it in your mouth.” There were others, like, “If you don’t pick up the first drink you won’t get drunk,” and, “If you sit in an airport for three months, you will not turn into a plane,” and, “Give us three months of sincere effort, and if you choose to drink, we will refund your misery.” Finally, “There’s a wrench for every nut!” These comments are not in the Big Book, but they are the experience, strength and hope of members who came before me. I was also instructed to work the Traditions as hard as the Steps. 

It has been many more 24 hours since I adopted this new way of life. I still remember the most burning question of all when I first got sober: “What’s in it for me?” And I have definitely found the answer: A way to live life with coping skills other than my doctorate in being a smart you-know-what. I no longer isolate in a pity party of my own making, and I have found a kind of family in AA that I can count on. Most important of all, I know I’m never alone.

The riches I have found in my own heart are truly better than anything I’ve ever found in my pocket. I wish you all a slow recovery and all the blessings I have found. And I pray every day for continued enthusiasm for the program that saved my soul. 

 

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