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STEP10 - Continuance

Audio Version

I’m coming up to another AA birthday, which is always a time of reflective time to when I first came in. I remember the man who later became my sponsor.  I asked him, “How long have you been coming to AA meetings?” He said 12 years. I was very impressed and got some hope. After a few months going to meetings the arrogance in me thought that he must be a bit slow on the uptake; I will have this lot all sorted out much quicker than him. The phrase, “If you don’t take the first drink you can’t get drunk” made it all seem a simple Programme for someone as clever as me and I will soon master this. Little did I know.

When I was about two months in, someone shared a 1st birthday at my home group. Everyone sang Happy Birthday and the man next to me excitedly said, “that could be you in 10 months’ time”. I smiled but thought “if I get to 12 months - I’d be expecting a car”. Needless to say when I got to 12 months sober, I was very emotional and delighted with the cake, much more than a car has ever done for me. After my first birthday I asked what happens now. They said “just keep doing what you’ve been doing; there are no days off and no holidays”.
I was given a one year medallion (chip) which was given as a reminder of who and what I am. I have had many birthdays since I now get the privilege of giving 1st year medallions to people I sponsor. The only greater pleasure is to see these people passing the message onto others.

The Big Book (page 164) says, ‘We know we only know a little. God will constantly disclose more to you and us’. There is no limit on trying to improve my spiritual outlook on life. I have become more open-minded, a little bit more patient and tolerant of others and myself (still a work in progress) – all of these help me to be more teachable. Hopefully I’m still changing, which means I’m still growing. This is a daily Programme of growing spiritually.

There are many things I can do that I couldn’t do when I first came in. They include admitting when I am wrong, asking for help, seeking another way of looking at things from another person’s point of view, keeping my nose out of someone else’s business, not giving an opinion on things unless I’m asked.

There are many things that I can’t do that I could when I first came into the Programme. These include lying, stealing, being judgemental, inconsiderate and selfish / self-seeking. I can still all of these things but don’t enjoy them and have to live with my conscience.  I used to be a brilliant liar to the point I believed it myself.  I was five years in AA before I realised that stealing stuff from work was stealing. I never even considered anyone else’s feelings or needs, I can always remember when I woke up thinking of someone else and not myself. I never really understood about self-seeking until I heard someone share that they were “a prisoner of other people’s opinion”. I identified with that so much even before I drank.

Today I try to do the next right thing, be myself and try to treat people like I would like to be treated myself. I sometimes fail but I accept I’m still a work in progress.

PETER D
Wrexham