pencil drawing, colorized on computer
by gregvan


i walked in and immediately, a woman with a warm smile and had me sit with "me and the girls." i must have looked like a deer caught in the headlights.

a booklet with meeting dates and times was passed around and all ladies in attendance added their phone numbers to the back, in case i should wish to call them. in fact, the Open Arms Lady said i should call at least two of them this week, just to check in.

i sat and listened. i went in thinking maybe i didn't *need* to be there, that i am not *that* bad...the self-doubting, the devil whispering into my ear anything that would make me turn the car around and go home. prior to getting out of my car and walking toward the church and into the meeting, i said a quick arrow prayer: "God if i am to be here, keep it simple. let me know under no uncertain terms that this is for me."

i got out, walked toward the glow of the open doors and went in. that was when i was met by Open Arms.

it was a step meeting. there was *usual* business discussed and the first step was recited from the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (which Open Arms lady purchased for me and gave to me as a gift before i left). they went around the room, each member reading a paragraph from the first step - 1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.


wow. as i sat and listened as they read aloud, the second to the last paragraph struck a chord in me:
Why all this insistence that every AA must hit bottom first? The answer is that few people will sincerely tried to practice the AA program unless they have hit bottom. For practicing AA's remaining eleven steps means the adoption of attitudes and actions that almost no alcoholic who is still drinking can dream of taking....Who wishes to be rigorously honest and tolerant? Who wants to confess his faults to another and make restitution for harm done?...No, the average alcoholic, self-centered in the extreme, doesn't care for this prospect--unless he has to do these things in order to stay alive himself.
and there it was. my *sign* -- i may not have hit rock bottom -- but i find i am pulling myself up before i do and it is my desire to never pick up a drink again. i cannot believe this is coming out of me as i always said if i couldn't drink wine ever again, i did not know what i would do with myself. and yet, i mean it. i mean it for at least today, even though Open Arms suggested i attend 90 meetings in 90 days. a jump-start, if you will. and true to her warmth, she hugged me good-bye and said "keep coming back."

so many things that were cliches to me are now going to come to life. i rushed through the house and grabbed the first journal i could find and took it with me last night, but sat with it on my lap and simply listened. when i came home, that is when it poured out of me - all the thoughts, words. when i closed the book itself, i noticed what was imprinted on the front:

Nothing is worth more than this day -- Goethe

how true.


Hope said...

I cried when I read this. It brings back so many memories for me. I am so proud of you. One day at a time. One step at a time. With the grace of God you can do this.

Steve F. said...

One of my many mentors in AA listened to me talk about being "a high bottom drunk" because I never got in a car wreck, never had a DUI, never got in a bar fight, hardly drank in bars, blah blah blah.

He looked at me, and said, "Steve, look at the last 30 days before your last drink. Make a list of what you'd done that you normally wouldn't have done; who was after you; who wanted nothing to do with you; what you were embarrassed, ashamed, guilty, and afraid of...

"And then ask yourself this question: if someone promised you that it would never get any worse than that, would that be enough? If your life didn't go any further down hill, but you just kept it as bad as the last 30 days before you stopped, would that be enough to keep you here?"

It would for me. Someone said that the only "high-bottom" alkies are the ones who haven't looked at their lives that carefully...

On another note, this girl used to call me at 3 AM, having "had a few drinks," wondering if she and her boyfriend really should go back to AA or not. "We're doin' ok, though, it's not causing us any problems, ya know?..."

I told her (gently) that social drinkers do not call people at 3 AM wondering whether they should go to AA or not. If social drinkers think they shouldn't drink, they just stop.

Sounds like you're in the right place, sister. Welcome home.

Heidi Renee said...

hip, hip hooray!

i said it up above, but i'll say it here - i am so proud of you m2! so very proud!

keep coming back! you're worth it!