I never really thought I would write about my life on an AA website. In general, I never thought that a spiritual program could give me back my mental and physical health. If there’s one thing I regret, it’s that I didn’t find my way into AA and the 12-step program 10 years earlier. In my family I grew up sheltered and protected with my two siblings. There were no signs at the time that I would ever develop life-threatening alcohol or drug problems.
When I was young, I had my first contact with alcohol and a short time later also with various other drugs. Back then, I often drank to the point of blackout and often overdid my consumption of alcohol and other drugs. Just as excessively as I initially “only” consumed on the weekends, I also did other things to excess at the time, such as sports or later, work.
In my mid-20s there were serious mishaps, especially in the form of loss of control. When I started consuming, I no longer had control over the amount, even though I had drilled it into myself beforehand that after 3 drinks or at 11 p.m., it’s definitely over today. But that never worked! In addition, I developed the so-called “Monday sickness”. That means my boss really couldn’t be sure if I would show up at work on Monday morning. Because I often just kept drinking on Mondays and extended the weekend by a day. Today I know that my addictive behavior had a firm grip on me back then – no matter how nice I talked it up to myself at the time. At 27, I had to go to the hospital for my first detox because I couldn’t stop drinking.
However, I couldn’t continue drinking either, because my stomach was so bad from drinking so much that I had to spit with every sip – a real dilemma, because I had the absolute urge and compulsion to continue drinking.
So I was taken to the hospital where I shivered as I detoxed for 3-4 days and then assured the doctor that there was no way he would see me here again. After all, this “arrogant” guy (the Dr) had claimed that I was an alcohol addict and that it would certainly not be my last hospital stay. This first “little clinic” withdrawal (after which I was by no means convinced that I was a “real” alcoholic) was followed by 29 more in the next few years!. Each time I left the hospital, humiliated, confused, and dejected, I firmly believed that this must really be my very last visit.
But my “ego”, which fiercely defended itself against any defeat, came back faster than a malignant tumor and persuaded me that perhaps I had not been defeated by alcohol and other drugs, but that under certain circumstances I could still consume in a controlled manner.
This game, which I kept losing, repeated itself for almost 10 years.
Since each of my crashes were dramatically worsening and I was on the verge of death as confirmed by various doctors, I decided to attend 90 AA meetings in 90 days. I had received this recommendation from two experienced AA Members at the information meeting they were conducting at the rehab clinic I was in at the time. As such, I started attending AA meetings, which got me through the holiday season and New Year’s without a relapse. During this time I also came across the AA’s Young People Group, which I particularly liked. It was suggested to me there that I should go through the so-called 12-step program with a sponsor (mentor for this program) in order to really be freed from my addiction. I liked the idea, but first I wanted to get back into working life. Not a good idea as it turned out. At first I attended AA meetings occasionally and then I stopped altogether. I’ve known since then that whatever I place above my recovery- I will lose. This also applies to this job, even though I didn’t particularly like it, it was an attrocious exit, and I had to accept the notice of termination in a drunken state.
In the subsequent and last hospital stay I was finally able to completely capitulate to my addiction. I went back to the AA Young People group, where I was welcomed with open arms, and began working the 12 Step program with a sponsor. I suddenly felt better and in the first few weeks and the program had an enormous effect on me. Not only have I been sober and clean since the beginning, but I haven’t even considered that it would be nice to take a drink or drug since then. This is the greatest miracle for me. I owe the fact that my life has developed fantastically in all areas since I started working the AA program at the Young People Group!
All 12 promises of AA have come true for me in the first year! I am very grateful that I found this AA group. I am also grateful for the many interesting people I have had the privilege of meeting and continue to meet, and for the privilege of being able to pass on this simple and very effective program.
A member of Alcoholics Anonymous