I have been sober in Alcoholics Anonymous for 22 years and step five has changed my life forever. The reason why is that I was never right from an early age. I felt like a square peg in a round hole. It seemed like everyone else had the script to life and I didn’t. I was uncomfortable around people and felt like they were trying to have one over on me. I became a victim blaming people places and things for how I felt. Alcohol made me feel comfortable. It smoothed the edges off. Made me feel like I was a part of again, where things did not bother me. I would not listen or take advice. An extreme version self-will run riot.
In my early twenties I was broken. I was crushed by this self-imposed crisis. I could not go on. I was never cut out for a crazy life even though I had some great times I wished for the end. When I arrived in AA I was beaten. My life was in the balance because I had not realised what I was suffering from.
I found a group that was getting bad press. I bumped into a group of guys that normally would not mix. They had a common purpose. A message they could absolutely all agree on. They carried the message and told me to get into good habits early. When I got my sponsor he asked me if was willing to go to any lengths for victory over alcoholism. I agreed that I was and he gave me a list of daily suggestions to do. I did them like my life depended on it. After he’d taken me through the first 3 steps my sponsor showed me how to take a 4th step inventory. My sponsor shared some of his worst bits, so that I knew what I needed to be included.
It says in the Big Book we would never overcome our drinking if we kept hold of the worst bits. That we needed to clean house and be rid of our deepest darkest secrets.
Once I was finished writing my 4th step inventory, I shared it with my sponsor; things I had never spoken to anyone else about. He told me things would get better from then on in. He was right. It has changed my life. Misery has become optional for me. Even when I get resentments, I can no longer blame anyone else. I’m the problem. I am responsible for how I allow stuff to make me feel.
What a great way to live. Taking responsibility for life and growing up. When I was drinking I never learned much and kept making the same mistakes over and over again.
For anyone who hasn’t worked the steps; don’t miss out! There’s a great life to be had. Since doing the steps I have lived an amazing life which by rights I shouldn’t have had. I should have been dead years ago and it’s all thanks to AA. I was born in Lambeth south London but grew up in Plymouth. I have a wonderful partner, 4 beautiful children, a steady job and a roof over my head. What a life!
I’ve seen AA change the lives of many others too. This is the most “equal opportunities” programme in the world. We don’t care where you come from. It’s what you want to do about it. I have had some dark times in recovery, but working this programme, carrying on regardless; I have come through to the other end and to a better place.
Dave K, Plymouth Road to Recovery Group