There is still a stigma attached to going to AA meetings, however, I owe every sober breath I take to Alcoholics Anonymous and its principals. It was started in Akron, Ohio by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith, in June of 1935. It was started with one conversation between these two alcoholics. It is based on the theory of one alcoholic helping another and 12 steps that are the keys to a sober life. It is an anonymous program; however, I chose not to remain anonymous. The following will be my experience of AA only.
Many years ago when I left rehab, I was told to go to meetings often. I was a very young alcoholic with out the benefit of knowing how far down my alcoholism would take me. So I went to one meeting a week for awhile. Eventually I stopped going, but still managed to stay sober for 8 years. The inevitable day came when I picked up a drink again and that started a downward spiral that would last for more years than I want to admit to. The wonderful thing is that even though I only went to one meeting a week, the seed was planted. Throughout my drinking career, I knew AA would be waiting with open arms.
My first experience of Alcoholics Anonymous was when I was in a 30 day program. I went with the rest of the people in the program, so it wasn’t too bad. The real test comes when you are home from rehab or finally decide you need help and go to your first meeting. Even though I knew what to expect, it was daunting. The truth is, AA is a group of men and women who want to stay sober. We want to help new people. We genuinely care about helping others. We know every emotion you are feeling because we have been where you are probably more than once. Today when I walk into an AA meeting, I feel like I have come home. I can talk about things that are bothering me or I can just listen. Either way, I will walk out of there so much better than when I went in.
AA and staying sober is a tremendous amount of work. When you go to your first meeting, you probably won’t immediately feel better, although that has happened to some people. For me, it was probably around my 5th meeting that I started to feel some hope. Everyone is different and you will follow your own path. If you keep going, you will feel better. AA says “don’t give up before the miracle happens”-so true! Be the miracle, you are so worth it. Thanks for letting me share and keep coming.