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Prodigious Promises

THE day before my first meeting I was drunk, as usual. That was my norm. I had agreed to be taken to a meeting one Thursday night in July. I was nervous and resentful, but I hadn’t taken a drink that day. We got there late; I don’t really remember much – except that I hadn’t done what the speaker had. I went home and, unusually for me, I did not drink. I haven’t needed to drink since that night.

My next meeting was the following Tuesday. God only knows how I managed that! I was quite wary. Who were these people? What did they want from me? Someone spotted me and gently explained that they wanted nothing – not even my money. If I thought I had a drink problem and they could be helpful, that was all they wanted to do. “…no fees to pay, no axes to grind, no people to please, no lecture to be endured.” I could choose this for myself or not.

I sat in those meetings (still not drinking), listening and often identifying. I latched on to the ‘differences’ but could not deny the similarities. I heard men and women talk about my mind, thinking and behaviour. They told me what I already knew deep inside. They described, from their own personal experience, what alcoholism was and how it had wreaked havoc in their lives. Despite not opening my mouth, I realised that these people knew me, where I had ’been’ and the effect alcohol had had on my life. For the first time in my life, I did not feel alone – there was hope.

The solution, they said, was on the scrolls hung on the walls and in the book which they called the ‘Big Book’. I love books; I bought it. I read, but my brain was scrambled and didn’t take in very much. But I did find the three-fold solution. It seemed drastic and I wasn’t ready to bridge that gap. In those days people often repeated, “Don’t drink, go to meetings”. That, I could and wanted to do, it was the only place I felt safe. I often went to more than one a day.

As the brain fog began to clear, I was able to take in more of what I heard in the Rooms. The pages of the Big Book seemed to clear up as well and make more sense, years later, it keeps happening! In the past I’d tried self-help books, only to lose interest either when I couldn’t find the ‘key’ or when the results weren’t forthcoming. The Big Book suggested that its purpose is to answer my question, “What do I have to do, specifically?”

IT DID – and does. Clear cut directions are there for me to follow – if I want to. No wishy washiness about this Programme. That is what someone like me needs. The Big Book tells me what has worked very well over decades for others like me. I can take the suggested course of action if I choose. That course promises “…results, prodigious results.” (12&12 p.27) or I can ignore the suggestions. Helpfully, I am also offered examples of those consequences, too.

It took a while for me to trust AA and its promises to me. There came a point when I was given that final choice. I saw and felt alcoholism reach out to me. I “…laid hold of A.A. principles with all the fervor with which the drowning seize life preservers.” (12&12 p.22) NO reservations. I’ve continued to get well. I had found the beginnings of a spiritual belief but was not sure that God could love someone like me. That final shock helped me to realise that spiritual principles would solve all my problems and that my Higher Power was kind, gentle and forgiving. We’ve walked the path together ever since.