from the June 1991 San Diego AA Coordinator Newsletter

Dear Friends in the Fellowship,

I am a beginner on the road to recovery. A few months back, when I first came into an A.A. meeting, I was desolate and very desperate, convinced that I was losing my mind. I was going through withdrawals and didn’t even know it. The people at that meeting showed me understanding and acceptance, and by listening to their stories, I slowly began to understand myself. Up until that point, I had felt totally alone in a life-or-death struggle that I did not think I would survive.

I had just enough wits left to perceive that there was something here that could save me. I talked to many people and read the Big Book. The one thing of which I was entirely convinced was that I am totally helpless. I was incapable of managing my own life. The very fact that something sustained me through this intense pain and suffering was evidence enough of a higher power. I began to pray every day, not to ask for health and sanity, but only for the strength to carry out God’s will for me.

As the weeks passed, layers of poison fell from my mind and body. After all, my system was readjusting after many years of addictive drinking. I had to have many things repeated to me many times before I began to truly understand them. And I was still fighting my old thoughts. My entire world view had to be readjusted. I was like a newborn learning how to live.

It seems humorous to me now to look back at those days (sometimes only hours) when I felt “normal” and healthy gain, when my mind would try once again to revert to old patterns of thought and behavior. I only wanted a drink when I was feeling good, when I was sitting back and egotistically dreaming of all the great things that I would do, not that I was feeling fine. Those old patterns do die hard! And inevitably those periods of time would be followed by fear and panic, when my memories of the very recent past surfaced and I realized that going back means death. I take these instances as proof of what a very slow learner I am!

But also I have enough compassion for myself now to accept myself, faults and all, without the need for a drink. And for that I am very grateful. Every day that I wake up is a good day — another chance to transcend my ego and try to learn God’s will. For the first time in my life, there is room for things like growth and light and love and acceptance. This is the life that is worth living. I thank God and A.A. for it.

~ Nancy P., San Diego