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Of course, Tradition One didn’t apply to me. Common Welfare? AA unity? I was so very ignorant and arrogant. I had fought my whole life to just survive. Abuse: sexual, physical, mental, I had survived it, and I buried the pain very deep so no one would ever suspect I was hurting. I walked away (untreated alcoholism) from my baby son and, as a result, my family turned their backs on me. I wanted to ask my daddy for help but realise now that it was fear of rejection that stopped me.

So here I was, landed in the Rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous – and what a mess I was in. I heard words like ‘broken’, ‘last chance address’, and I was very frightened. The welfare and unity of AA was most definitely nothing to do with me.

Moving on a few years and after I had got a beautiful sponsor, I was to look at the Traditions. I realised that without AA unity and our common welfare there would be no AA and I, plus many thousands of suffering alcoholics, would be dead. Without conforming to the principles of the Traditions, our Fellowship would not survive. It says in the literature, “It becomes plain that the group must survive or the individual will not.” (12&12 p.130) – powerful words. Thank you, AA, for saving my life and for the knowledge that I need not fight anymore nor be afraid.

JOJO, Reeth