from the San Diego AA Coordinator, January, 2020

I was several months sober; my phone was ringing off the hook; a host of new AA friends were keeping my spirits alive and happy. I was going to meetings all around Los Angeles as often as possible. My spare time was spent hanging at the clubhouse at 26th and Broadway, in Santa Monica. There I felt safe because the subject was generally focused on one subject: SOBRIETY.

Although my family was back in Indiana, I was seldom lonely, and I seemed to be winning the battle against that first drink. However, I hadn’t experienced a sober Christmas season for over twenty five years and there existed that hidden terror of the next drink, but I seemed to be successful at pushing it away, like the boy in the Big Book who was whistling in the dark to keep up his spirits. I pushed harder to keep away those terrifying thoughts. But, like a muscle, the harder I shoved it, the stronger it got. Christmas and New Year’s Eve around the corner and fear grew to near terror. Maybe I could get past this but what about the next time? Don’t think about it! Don’t think about it! If I think it-I’ll drink it! The fear grew paramount. Was I headed for deep chicken fat trouble?

Near disaster: I marched into a Hollywood bar, after a Christmas parade and almost ordered a gin and tonic. Thank God I didn’t! The next week, a new sponsor led me through the Twelve Step process and I, for the first time, started living the actual program of action of alcoholics Anonymous! By the summer of 1976 the obsession to drink was lifted and has never returned.

If I were asked to offer personal experience for someone new, it would be to find a sponsor who can help them through the Twelve Step process, el pronto! The fellowship is good, but a vital spiritual experience is the ultimate solution. I believe that lots of meetings were very vitally important for me in those early months, but as is often heard: “Survival on the fellowship is untreated alcoholism.” But also: “Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path.” (Big Book P.50)

~ Bob S.