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STEP ONE

ACCEPTING I HAVE A PROBLEM

Audio Version

When I finally accepted I had a problem, I finally came to the conclusion that everyone else seemed to know long before I did. My family had accepted that my drinking and my life was out of control, the company I worked for was coming to the end of their patience and were looking to replace me very soon. I knew all these situations were down to my drinking and the person I hated most of all was me - hated what I could do about it. When I got to the situation that I couldn't live with or without drinking and that it no longer gave any warm glow, feeling of being complete depair of how I could cope. I knew the game was up - but what could I do about it?

I had approached other agencies before this stage to try to "control" but not to stop drinking. To be fair to these agencies, I was going to get family and work off my case - I was not ready to stop. I know now I had to face more pain and degradation before I was ready to admit I was an alcoholic. The Big Book says, “We learned that we had to fully concede to our innermost selves that we were alcoholics” (Big Book, p30). That word “We” again – means I’m no longer alone. I knew when I got to the can't-live- with-or-without-it stage, that my world was closing in from all directions. I had exhausted all avenues I could think of that might have a kind word or thought for me -" I was at the “jumping off place " (Big Book –page 152). Being desperate, I told my family that I was going to ring AA. They gave me the number and proceeded to tell me where the meetings were and my sister even offered to go with me. I found out later that they had been speaking to the AA helpline and were told that I should ring them, which showed intent rather than just keeping people off my back. I was in no fit state to go to a meeting that night so I agreed to go a Sunday meeting in Wrexham.  Sunday was always a bad day anyhow and this Sunday seemed to last forever. I got to the meeting early. I had agreed with my phone contact to meet outside the building. People walked past into the building, the majority looked like they had never touched a drink in their lives. We went inside to an upstairs room which seemed to be full of ordinary people who all seemed to be happy to see me, everyone knew I was new. I was given a rundown about what was going to happen, a person will share for 20 minutes, this will be followed by sharing one at a time chosen by the chairperson. If you have any questions we can go through them at the end. I now realized not all newcomers are told what happens and can cause interruptions / disruption which may affect their opinion of returning to another meeting. I have also known people share things that were meant for a sponsor’s ears and not to be shared in a general meeting.

I remember very little of what was said at the meeting because I was so nervous of what was going to happen to me. I remembered people's shoes because I kept my head down and was afraid to look people in the eye. The main thing that convinced me was that these people had found a way to stop drinking and were happy about it. The other major feelings were hope and a feeling that these people wanted me to get better more than I did. They knew how ill I was, more than I did. I love to be part of the “we” that the Fellowship is built upon.

My belief in a Higher Power was of the educational variety achieved at my pace with prayers suggested in the Big Book (pp 63 & 76) and of course the Serenity Prayer. I was told to keep an open mind and more will be revealed as I get started on the Programme. When the ego starts to take over I look to Big Book, page 83, where it says "you will be amazed before you are halfway through". I am still amazed after all these years, so I'm only half way through. I hope the second half will be as good if not even better. Good job it’s only a day at a time regardless of how long you have been sober. The phrase, “God will constantly disclose more to you and to us” (Big book p164) has applied in my Programme..    

PETER D,
Wrexham