For me, taking a drink of alcohol would be like getting hit by a diesel truck. I’ve had some close calls with picking up a drink. When I think of that, I’m really thankful for my life. I don’t know if I’d ever have the stuff it takes to come back after a slip.
Big Book page 33, “Most of us believed that if we remained sober for a long stretch, we could thereafter drink normally. But here (p22) is a man who at fifty-five years found he was just where he had left off at thirty. We have seen the truth demonstrated again and again: ‘Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic.’ Commencing to drink after a period of sobriety, we are in a short time as bad as ever. If we are planning to stop drinking, there must be no reservation of any kind, nor any lurking notion that someday we will be immune to alcohol.”
In Cedar Rapids the saying was, “While I’m in this meeting, my disease is out in the parking lot doing push-ups!” For the longest time, I just didn’t get that saying. They were referring to the principle above. As a body ages, it process alcohol less efficiently. If we stay sober for 25 years and then relapse, it will take less time than ever to be right back where we were when we quit. In fact, the stories that I witnessed were scary. Within a few days, for many, they were showing more signs of alcoholism and craziness than they had years before! Within a few years, death often follows.
Besides that… the quitting seems to become progressively difficult. I can’t wrap my mind around all that. I just know I don’t want to go through any more grief and agony because of alcohol. Life is hard sometimes now, good sometimes now. Much of the time it’s wonderful. But even if it sucked, I don’t want to compound the suffering again!
I had no idea how unusual it is to come into the AA program and just accept the truth of the book and the Steps. I guess it was a gift from God. There’s no logical explanation for it. When I look at my history, that’s not the reaction that I usually have. I usually rebel, modify, scoot around, reformat… make up my own version of everything.
It must be God. I devoured the book after the Welcome Wagon meeting when Steve gave it to me and within a week I was a convinced! I had read the first 164 pages in that time and had started taking notes and highlighting in color pencil the portions that spoke to me. For me, it was like sitting down and having a real conversation with God. I was moved to tears, overjoyed, enlightened and enthused. Alternately I was shocked, dejected, overcome, and depressed by my past behavior and current situation.
I devoured the book after the Welcome Wagon meeting when Steve gave it to me and within a week I was a convinced! I had read the first 164 pages in that time and had started taking notes and highlighting in color pencil the portions that spoke to me. For me, it was like sitting down and having a real conversation with God. I was moved to tears, overjoyed, enlightened and enthused. Alternately I was shocked, dejected, overcome, and depressed by my past behavior and current situation.
I was whip-lashed with reality! I had known God all my life, but I didn’t have the method for living that Bill W shares in the AA book. I loved the book and didn’t understand how people could have a take-it-or-leave-it attitude about the program as outlined.
Truth, pure hard truth was making its way into my heart and clearing my brain of the alcoholic fuzz.
For quite a while I was thinking in alternate spheres. The alcoholic part would tell me how good it would be if I just relaxed a little, took a little sip and nursed one wine for the evening.
The newly sober part of my mind would retort, “When have you ever, EVER done that? Name one time!”
It was uncomfortable to be arguing with myself constantly. It seemed my mind was racing. Relief was only present when I’d go to the meetings and just sit quietly, listening and taking notes. Therefore, I went to a lot of meetings. I had 13 that I really liked every week. If I needed it, I would go to more.
One guy told me, “If you feel like going to a meeting … go. If you don’t want to go … that’s when you need a meeting! When you don’t want to go, you’re in trouble and it’s dangerous to stay home in that condition.”
How could I not go to 7 -13 meetings a week? I loved them and when I didn’t want to go, I knew he was right. Not wanting to be at a meeting usually meant my alcoholic mind was confusing me and I was starting to isolate, listening to fear and loneliness. The problem with listening to my alcoholic thinking was that I would soon be wanting to numb, escape, drift away from reality again. I’d want to drink.
“Just a sip… no one would know.”