I’m an alcoholic and addict. Like so many of us, I began using alcohol and drugs early in life to fit in and mask my insecurities. I grew up with an alcoholic father who abandoned me at age 13. Although I was provided a loving home with a very caring grandmother, a Catholic education and most of what I wanted, I turned to alcohol and drugs to provide the high in life that fueled my every waking thought.
I was able to make it through 2 years of college before my alcohol and drug use took me completely down. Feeling alone and inadequate, I reached out to a series of relationships that provided temporary relief. The next 14 years of my life were filled with many ups and downs but always with the corrosive thread of drugs and alcohol.
I married an incredible woman with a loving and kind heart and was blessed with 3 beautiful and healthy children, but still continued to use drugs and alcohol to provide what was “missing” in my life. As the AA literature suggests, I was consumed with 1,000 forms of fear, self-delusion and self-pity. I was selfish and self-centered, wanting only to please myself. At that time, my marriage was in shambles and I was in jeopardy of losing my children and my job. Thank God that was my bottom!
When I entered the AA 12 Step program, I wish I could say that my life quickly turned around. Unfortunately instead of diving into the program whole-heartedly, I blew through a couple of sponsors and refused to work the steps. For the next 6 years I stayed “dry” but my life continued to be a mess. The final turning point for me happened when by brother, who was my biggest supporter and best friend, died.
I was separated from my wife and on the verge of divorce. My business was on the brink of bankruptcy. I was about to go back out when a good friend suggested I try a new sponsor. In desperation I reached out to a wonderful man with great sobriety. With his daily encouragement and loving “pushes” I began working the steps. Change came slow at first, but it did come.
Now several 24 hours later, my marriage is stronger than ever, I have the love and respect of my 3 children and true friendships.
Life still throws many challenges my way but with the principles of the program now fully ingrained in me, I’m able to meet these challenges in a healthy and loving way.
Of all the many blessings I’ve gained through working the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, my relationship with my Higher Power is definitely the greatest gift I’ve received. It started with the idea that I can choose my own conception of God. I had to overcome the idea that God is angry and punishing. I began to believe that my Higher Power whom I choose to call God is a loving and forgiving God. He loves me unconditionally and wants the best for me.
I now begin each day asking Him to show me his will for just this day and to give me the power to carry that work throughout my day. By taking life just one day at a time and by placing my selfish will into God’s loving and caring hands, I’m able to stay sober for just that day. My life can be even more rewarding when I keep a thankful heart for the many blessings that I’ve received and think of how I can help someone else as opposed to only thinking of myself. These simple spiritual tools have made a profound change in my life!