Thank You GOD and AA for saving my life! One day at a time!
A friend of mine sent me the link for this site, and here I am. My name is Jo and I am an alcoholic with a little over 4 years in the Alcoholics Anonymous program. I have not had a drink in 14 years, but I've only been in recovery for 4 years and, for me, I've only been sober that long.
I'm from a small town in southern New Jersey. I grew up in a home rampant with abuse -- physical, mental, and sexual. Those things are not what make me an alcoholic. The feelings I had inside, the belief that I was stupid, no good, unlovable, the fear, the anger, and how I chose not to feel them... those are what make me an alcoholic.
I didn't have my first drink until I was 18 years old. I was in a park near where I lived with my family. Having sneaked out of the house, I went to hang with some the kids who were part of the "in crowd," the kids who never spoke to me before. That night, I got introduced to alcohol for the first time. What happened right from the start was a feeling of numbness, of not having to feel all the things I believed to be true about myself. Suddenly, I was pretty, smart, funny, and worth something. My drinking took off pretty much from that point on, and I quickly ended up drinking to the point of black out 7 days a week.
I put down the drink 14 years ago due to an attack on my physical person. I had been working in a strip club where, boy, was it easy for me to get what I wanted exactly when I wanted it. I was sharing an apartment with a male roommate to whom I was not attracted in any way, shape, or form. I came home one night in my usual stumbling condition and he chose to take advantage of that. I woke up the next morning disgusted with myself and afraid. That was the moment when I decided to put down the booze, but not to change any thing else. I left the apartment behind, along with all my things, because I couldn't be there with what had happened.
I stayed in the sex industry for 9 years after that, working in one after another, bone dry and completely out of my mind. I acted out in the same ways I did while drinking without even having the excuse of the alcohol in my system. I ran through life hurting myself and anyone who came near me. I thought I was better than the members of AA because I didn't need any help. I
worked around alcohol. I served it. I had everything under control.
But the reality is that I didn't have anything under control. I was busy grabbing whatever I could to shove into the hole inside me where all those feelings of not being worthy lurked just below the surface.
I finally made it to the rooms of AA when, after 10 years of being dry, not sober, I was knocked on my knees in fear. There is a big difference between being dry and being sober. I had the urge to drink, and I couldn't figure out why. I can tell you why I had that urge now, though... We all have our breaking point and I had finally reached mine. All of the things I had used to fill the whole in my soul had finally stopped working. That's why.
I went to a mental hospital, where I hoped to be locked away until they could fix me, until I didn't want to drink anymore. God has a sense of humor. I didn't know you had to tell them you wanted to die to be locked up. So, I sat there for almost 2 hours and told them "No, I don't want to die. I just don't want to drink. Please help me." They asked me why, if I didn't drink all this time, why don't I just go to an AA meeting? "Why?" Because, I didn't need any help, or so I wrongly thought.
The hospital sent me home and I was at my first meeting the next morning, where I was blessed with meeting my first sponsor who followed the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. I was, as I like to say, strong-armed through the 12 steps. My life certainly didn't change over night, but it certainly did get better.
The more work I did, the closer I got to God, the more my life improved and the more I knew that, if I just turned my will over, one day at a time, the happier I'd be. Today, I work at a visitor information center and get to keep my pants on! Yay! God rocks!
If you are new to any of the twelve step programs, don't be afraid grab a sponsor and dive in. Life is better today then any other time in my life. I am grateful for what God and AA have given me, and I don't mean material crap. I've been there and done that. What I mean is the dignity, self respect, and a sense of peace and calm that comes with sobriety.
So, come on, people, and make like the old Nike commercials and "Just do it". Trust me on this: True sobriety is where it's at!