Becoming an alcoholic at age 13 was pretty easy, after all I did have a rough start in life. I didn’t have money or fancy clothes, I shopped at the Salvation Army and was always made fun of for being ugly or poor and I was never any good at sports. My father abandoned me, my sister and mother when I was 3 years old. I hated him for that and I always swore that I would never be like him because he was a drunk. I also had major resentment for my stepfather. Life was hard, and it was easy to become an alcoholic.
So my first drinking experience at age 13 was in a bar that my uncle owned in Idaho. My uncle was moving out and we were invited to help. After the move there was beer left in a keg so my uncle started pouring schooners for the grown-ups, then my uncle turned to my mom and said is it ok if skip has one? My mother told him yes and there is begun. Wow, wow and double wow! I was like a kid in a
candy store! I remember taking the beer and drinking it rather fast, then something great happened, all of the previous mentioned issues disappeared and even though I threw up, blacked out and got sick again, I drank more!
And that my dear friends characterized my drinking until my last drink in July 1975. After countless vain attempts to stop drinking I was allowed to attend a two week outpatient program the Navy offered. The only drawback was I had to attend AA everyday! My life was over because I knew that AA was the place where old drunks went to die. So like a man facing the gallows, I trudged into my first meeting. I noticed however that people weren’t dying, they were laughing and living. All I heard my first meeting was mumble mumble mumble, but I went back the next night and I heard a little more. By the fourth meeting I was taken to AA like a duck takes to water. From that point on I have not found it necessary to take another drink.
I have been through adversities including the death of my spouse of 51 years and thanks to the twelve steps and twelve traditions of AA, I remain sober. When I have drunk dreams, I consider it a spiritual awakening. Standing in front of the beer cooler looking at the different beers, I take it as a further acknowledgment of the fact that I am an alcoholic! (I don’t know normal drinkers that do that). I attend two meetings, the one I want to and the one I don’t want to! I don’t take sobriety for granted! I’m an old timer that believes the further I get away from my last drink, the closer I am to my next one! How did I get here? Through great sponsorship. You see I was never told to find a sponsor, I was told I am your sponsor! Thank God for Frenchy who sent me on a path of meetings, book studies, cleaning up after meetings, greeting at the door etc. I did those things because he did those things also when he was in my shoes. So, if I did those things then I had a chance at sobriety!
I cannot express enough the importance of sponsorship, one drunk talking to another! “If you don’t give this program away you won’t keep it” I’ve seen it time and time again with people who do not share it and they just disappear. At meetings when they call for an AA related announcement, I say my name is Skip and I’m alcoholic. This is for the newcomers that stood up and those that didn’t, if you are serious about your sobriety and do not have a sponsor, you come see me and we’re going to get you hooked up! Do not think you can do this on your own because trust me, it doesn’t work! This is a WE program! I believe there is nothing that accelerates a recovery more than working with others. You owe it to yourself to sponsor and not let the new person slip away.