A Real Chance
I walked in to my first AA meeting, not knowing what to expect at all. I was desperate enough to try something I didn’t have any insight about whatsoever. I was in a very bad position prior to my first meeting. I was suffering from severe alcoholism and was actively drinking. Life was meaningless and a real struggle. Nothing seemed worthwhile, everything was just so difficult and too much effort. I just sought oblivion through alcohol.
Alcohol gave me everything. Confidence, fearlessness; it made me able to do what I thought I wanted to, which, essentially, was to feel okay and to be able to fit in and socialise with fellow human beings. To feel a part of life.
As a child I enjoyed loneliness and felt very adventurous on my own. I was never very strong in social situations, like school.
When I found alcohol, I built my reputation around being the rebel, the one who didn’t care; the one who was mad, funny and not afraid of anything. The reverse is pretty much the truth. I felt so terribly awkward, and uncomfortably introverted whilst sober, I had to put on this explosive, naughty, fearless front.
As my behaviour got worse and my drinking progressed, everything else fell by the wayside. I shunned schooling, and any sort of meaningful, character-building activities, and opted for alcohol and rebel-like status. I surrounded myself with like-minded people and quickly spiralled into 6 years of heavy drinking and abuse.
I got a criminal record, and was heading for prison at the age of 19. I had never worked. I had built up nothing worthwhile. I had no formal education, and my mental and emotional state was becoming unbearable. My so-called mates and I had fallen out. I got in to fights with them, we robbed off each other and became enemies.
In the run up to A.A. I was summoned to Crown Court. By this time I was already seeking to find an answer to what was actually wrong with me. Whilst sober, now, I felt as though I had a severe mental illness. I was at breaking point. My drinking was savage. I had no control whatsoever over alcohol, and I knew it. Being drunk was preferable to being sober but they were both becoming unbearable.
To cut a long story short, I have taken the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, and have recovered from alcoholism through a spiritual awakening. I have been relieved of my mental and emotional torture, and the drink problem has disappeared. 5 years 2 months and 14 days have passed with no return to alcohol.
The 12 steps and the spiritual experience have sustained me and given me a brand new life. Through the fellowship of A.A. and the 12 steps , I feel as though I have been given today a real chance at life. I sobered up at 20. I spent, literally, the whole of my teens drinking and ruining my life, and breaking myself. For the past 5+ years I have been building myself back up a day at a time. Through the guidance of a Higher Power, which is God, I have been being developed and built up to the present moment.
The 12 steps have given me recovery from my alcoholic condition. They have given me freedom from my mental and emotional problem, and they have given me a foundation upon which I am building a happy and purposeful life; a day at a time.
I could not do social situations, I never felt nor wanted to fit in with society and its people whilst sober, it was too much hard work and I felt too uncomfortable. Thus I never got anywhere with life doing it on self-will. No education, no employment, no lasting relationships, nothing worthwhile.
Early in to my sobriety I went back to college, and progressed on to university. I now have a full education up to degree level. I have met lots of people and made friends along the way. I have found a full time job in retail; as retail is where my only experience is, due to getting a part time job whilst I was a student, in a supermarket. I am now working hard to develop employability skills and experience, to build long-term security.
The main fact is that I can get on and achieve things today and stick at things, and look at the bigger picture. A.A. has totally transformed my life, attitude and perception. I have met a pretty girlfriend and we have been in a relationship for over 18 months. She fully understands and accepts me as a recovered alcoholic that doesn’t drink and goes to A.A. We go to Theme Parks, City Breaks and have a lot of fun together. I drag her to football stadiums and to watch games, but she loves it! We plan on going abroad on holiday this year too.
Today I feel as though I have a very good chance of achieving a measurable amount of success as long as I keep to the A.A. programme. I am very ambitious, but understand that things take time, and every day is a day to progress and learn new things.
A.A. really has given me everything I have in my life today. Only I know how much I have changed. My external circumstances and my consistency towards life demonstrate the internal change. I had no chance at life before I came to A.A. I was going to die early, or become a heavy drug addict in and out of prison all my life. And blaming everybody else for the way I turned out.
Thank God for the miracle of A.A. and my new and happy life. A real chance is what I have got, and I am going for it. In Bill’s Story he says “I was soon to be catapulted into what I like to call the fourth dimension of existence. I was to know happiness, peace, and usefulness in as way of life that is incredibly more wonderful as time passes.” That is my experience today. A.A. and my Higher Power are the reason for my life today. I was the hopeless alcoholic. It’s not my power that is working in my life. It is my Higher Power, God.
Anybody ready this. Keep up the 12 step work. We are on a path that is really going somewhere. We have a real chance! If you have Step 1, there’s no going back. Forward is the only way. The 12 steps, a sponsor, the big book, a home group and a higher power are the essentials for happy sobriety. A new and wonderful life will be given you if you come to A.A. and get on with it.
Jamie, Road to Recovery Group, Plymouth