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BY the time I got to Step Ten, I had a good grasp of the theory. I had started to take those early Steps into the continuing practice my sponsor told me would stand me in good stead – ODAAT – for the rest of my life.

I am an emotional person – just like everyone else, whether they are alcoholic or not. In drink, my emotions ruled my life. I had no control or, if I did, was so out-of-control, I gave in to the maelstrom. Because it hurt, I used alcohol daily to deaden the feelings. There was no way out, but I kept trying to get out. AA found me when I was 40 years old. Emotionally, I was still a toddler. I couldn’t throw myself on the ground and kick and scream but that was often the way I felt. You told me about the iceberg, which made a lot of sense to me.

Often, I hear AA members urging newcomers to “just jump in”. If that had been the only option, I would have walked away. I was lucky, all I was asked to do was “keep coming back”. There were too many reservations I couldn’t square with myself. However, I did keep coming back and began to hear parts of the solution – my hearing was selective. Very gingerly I tested some of these out, and they seemed to work, which meant I could test out a bit more. I began to trust and let my guard down. Finally, and with time, I was able to seriously ask for help. I was able to “…go to any length…” (BB p.58) and trust another person and my new-found Higher Power. As we worked together the trust grew.

In truth, I began working on Step Ten while I was writing Step Four. Sometimes that could be quite confusing, but it got me started and used to looking at myself from a clearer perspective. Finally, having completed all the amends I was able to make (there are still three outstanding 38 years on), I settled into Step Ten.

As the years have passed my work has changed to meet what time, age and continuous recovery has revealed. I’m no saint, but most days I use my will properly to do those things which enhance my life of recovery – often the impulse is automatic. The problems of alcohol have been removed. Unless I am in a meeting, I rarely think about alcohol. BUT I am still left with my emotions. A lot of the more problematic ones have been neutralised and if they raise their ugly heads, I know what to do and have the Power to do it. Doctor Bob said, “Your Heavenly Father will never let you down!” (BB p.181). I stay in close touch and that’s my experience too.

Has sanity returned? Well, that’s a good question! I certainly hope so…well, most of the time it has.