Term: Declaration – The act of making an official statement about something
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog today, and make the effort to change your life. Be proud of yourself for not drinking, or taking a drug today. You are changing your life! You are saving your life! You will have a life by taking this thing called recovery a day at a time and believing in yourself that you can live happy without using alcohol or drugs. God bless and enjoy this post!
So there I was, sitting in a room full of alcoholics and addicts. It was my very first AA meeting back in 2005, St. Louis Park, MN. The person who invited me to the meeting introduced me to a few people. The meeting was about to start so we had to grab a seat. The chairs were set up in a circle. I can’t remember exactly how many chairs there were, but it probably was around 40 to 45 of them.
Jon sat down and I sat to his left. The person he introduced me to also sat to my left.
(Jon is the person I mentioned in my previous post, “Do you have your pants on yet?” – My 1st AA meeting)
Little did I know the person sitting to my left was the group leader, his name was Doug. I had no idea what to expect being this was my first AA meeting and what took place at one of these meetings? So I sat back to see what this “AA thing” was all about. I didn’t know what to expect, but I was nervous.
I look back and can picture many people with smiles on their faces right before the meeting was about to start. They were conversing, laughing, and happy to be there. I couldn’t figure this out one bit! How could someone be happy being at an AA meeting?! This was the last place I ever wanted to be in life.
I was thinking to myself, “Do these people even know the pain I’m in? Will these people even understand what is going on with me?” I truly felt like the only person on the planet that was dealing with all the problems I had.
This is what alcoholism does to a person. It not only isolates a person (eventually) from society, but creates a distorted view for the alcoholic to believe they are the only one with problems. The funny thing is that everyone in that room understands my pain. They’ve been there before too. I just didn’t know it at the time. What I’m really saying here is, that I didn’t understand how AA works. It’s ok if you don’t understand how it works either. Our recovery has to start somewhere, right?
So there we were, saying a prayer I’ve never said before – The Serenity Prayer
God grant me the
to accept the things I can not change,
to change the things I can, and
to know the difference
This sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher when she talks, “whaa-wha, whaa-wha-whaa”. I’m not saying this to be disrespectful. But this is how it sounded to me as I had other things on my mind like depression, self-pity, anger, resentments, sadness, etc. The Serenity Prayer has gotten me through many tough days in my recovery. It’s simplistic, yet powerful.
Next were introductions where each addict or alcoholic states their name and what they claim their self to be. They are either an alcoholic or addict. Some people even say, chemically dependent or addicted. It is their choice of how they want to recognize their alcoholism and/or addiction to drugs.
“Hi my name is Doug, I’m an alcoholic”.
The group then responds by saying, “Hi Doug”. This is so the person feels welcome. It doesn’t matter if the person has been there 100 times or if it’s the first time.
I started to listen more attentively as each person said their name. I was sitting at the 6 o’ clock position when Doug started off saying his name. It then moved to his left to the next person and so on. I realized at the 11 o’ clock position that I was going to have to say my name too. But I wasn’t sure how I was going to say that I’m an alcoholic. I was scared!
But what was I so scared about?
I can answer this (now) by simply saying, “I didn’t want to give up my disease”.
I could feel the pressure building as each person continued on around the circle. One by one, they stated their name and their affiliation with their disease. I could feel my heart pound and my breathing get shorter. It would only be a few more minutes until it was my turn.
I was the very last person in the circle to say who I was and what I was. I find it ironic how I was the last person to introduce myself. It’s like God (my higher power) set it up this way for me to listen to others who claim to have a disease that has negatively impacted their life like mine.
And just like that, it was my turn! I couldn’t speak. All I could do was sit and stare at the floor, trying to hold back the intense feelings of wanting to hang onto all the partying, the good ole’ times, the times that seemed “normal”. I wanted to hold onto being the person that can drink like other people in society. But this wasn’t the case anymore. I don’t know when I crossed that line of being a drunk, but I did. My disease had brought me to the point to attend my first AA meeting. A meeting that I never thought I’d be attending, let alone be an AA member that had every right to be there due to my drinking.
Tradition 3 states: “The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.”
Tears started to flow down my cheeks. My tears were filled with lots of pain and sadness. I started to cry like when you’re a kid and can’t breathe. I had everything I could do to say the words I never thought I’d have to say in my life. “I’m an alcoholic”.
I bet it took 3-5 minutes for me to finally stutter this out of my mouth. The silence in the room was deafening. It was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do in my life. I felt like a failure. I felt so alone at that moment in my mind, but I wasn’t in a physical presence. I had all those other men surrounding me. They understood my pain, they understood my loneliness, they were there for me. I was not alone.
I was home!
My final words for this post,
I will never forget that moment in my life. Attending an AA meeting was something “I didn’t want” in life, but it was what God wanted and has planned for me all along. You see…we don’t get to choose our path even though we think we are every day. This is a false illusion. So we need to come to the realization that something greater than our self is guiding us through life. Exactly as it’s suppose to be for each and every one of us. This concept may be hard to grasp early on in recovery. But you will clearly see that this is true, once you’ve surrendered to your disease. Remember, we can either
- Continue to deny who we have become – which is an alcoholic or addict, or both.
- Or, we can accept who we CAN become living sober as an alcoholic or addict!
Today, I am who I’m supposed to be. A grateful alcoholic!