My journey in Alcoholics Anonymous started in February 2005. And like most of us, I was fairly beaten up when I arrived at AA’s doorstep. I was hopeless, helpless and by most other peoples account – heartless. My world had become very “small” since I had pushed everyone who cared about me away and I was hiding from everyone else. I had gotten to a point where life was unbearable and consequences of drinking were compounding daily. My job and family were way too much for me to handle and I was to a point where death by ingestions (via alcohol or its various forms) seemed likely and preferable.
An intervention from my place of work was the culminating event from years of active alcoholism. And while this event appeared at the time as the worst possible day of my life, I have subsequently come to realize this was the most blessed event in my life. This was the outset of a spectacular (and sometimes not so spectacular) spiritual journey that seems to continue to advance as long as my willingness and open-mindedness continues to broaden.
I should mention, as to not paint an inaccurate picture of my sobriety path, that while the AA promises (pages 83-84 of the Big Book) have come true for this Alcoholic, I had to learn the hard way about half measures. My progression from calamity to glimpses of serenity was by no means a linear path. In fact, it was very fragmented and there were stretches where it felt as if I was moving backward. But when you are riddled with self-centered fear, the idea of doing things the AA way seems absurd and quite unreasonable. Therefore, left to my own thinking, I did not succumb to the concepts of surrender, acceptance and turning it over very efficiently. My early days in AA consisted of going to meetings daily, however I was not willing to get a sponsor and work the steps. I refused to accept the premise that I had to do the AA program as outlined in the book. It was not until the emotional pain got so bad that I knew I was either going to drink or I had to surrender to the fact that I needed to get a sponsor and work the steps. This is where the principle of Hope in all its magnificent forms took over – but only once I let it!
Those early days of sobriety has proven that fears unchecked (or dealt with the same “old “way) are powerful enough to block oneself from receiving the gift of hope. Until I truly conceded that I was an alcoholic and that I must do the AA program like every other “recovered” alcoholic it seemed I was hopeless. But once I started to connect with others I began to open the door for hope to take over. It all started with the building of a relationship with my sponsor. It then quickly expanded to friends of my sponsor and his sponsor. Before I knew it, the walls began to fall and I was connecting with people in whole new and exciting way. Not only was I connecting but hope was creeping in and I did not even notice it.
A careful review through my days in AA has revealed some amazing changes in my attitudes, my beliefs and most importantly my actions. My personal pathway of “coming to believe” started with me changing my go it alone attitude. It was apparent that my attitudes were blocking me from receiving the gifts of the program. When I started to show my weakness (the beginning stages of honesty and humility), God began to show his strength through others who had walked the path before me. It was the hope I saw in others that led me to make the decision, and overcome the huge fear, to ask another man to be my sponsor. It was the hope I saw in others that allowed me to start to identify and stop judging. It was the hope I saw in others that permitted me to go from contempt to maybe this can work for me. And finally it was the hope I saw in others that allowed me to transition from:
Hope -> Belief -> Faith
-Jerry F from Park City, UT