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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..