Brian's story

I came into Alcoholics Anonymous not having much of a clue about what was going on anymore. My drinking shortly before I came into AA was totally different to the start of my drinking. It no longer made me feel relaxed, happy and excited; it was just monotonous drinking virtually all day everyday with resentful thoughts full of fear and paranoia. As things got gradually worse I had tried to control my drinking then tried ways of stopping but with no avail. Physically I wasn’t too bad, but emotionally and mentally I was knackered and didn’t know which way was up. Like it says in the big book no matter how great the necessity or wish I could not leave alcohol alone, so I decided to call the AA helpline not knowing what to expect.

I spoke to a man on the helpline who described himself as an alcoholic and I started to identify with what he was saying. I declined the offer of a twelve step call but said that I would meet him the following day at a meeting. The day after this I went to another group which became my home group.

I cannot remember much about what was said at my first few meetings as my head was very ‘foggy’. What I do remember about my new home group however was the way the people were. They were completely different to the way I felt. They were full of life, chatting and joking with each other with no sign of fear or worries. They looked comfortable around each other and were enjoying life without alcohol – and there was me wondering how this could be.
People shared their experience, strength and hope with me and told me precisely what I needed to do to get sober. They carried the message of recovery to me as is set out in the Big Book Alcoholics Anonymous, which I got a copy of at my first few meetings. I was also urged to get a sponsor who would guide me through the steps and pass on his experience to me as set out in the Big Book. This made sense to me as I’d proved to myself time and again that I knew how to create havoc but not how to get sober and stay sober. I was given a set of daily actions taken from various conference approved literature and was told that it was the actions I put in that would determine the way I felt. I got into service within my home group and started to contribute, think of others and give something back. As soon as my sponsor saw that I meant business and was sponsorable he told me to re read about the first three steps in the big book and then I went round his house and he started me on the steps. Before doing any of the steps my sponsor urged me to read about them in the Big Book and the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions so that I was confident that he wasn’t just making this up as he went, and that I was getting the undiluted program of Alcoholics Anonymous.

I continued to work through the twelve steps and as the result I have had a spiritual awakening, or change of thought and attitude if you prefer. The way that I look at life and my place in it today is completely different. The way that I react to situations and people is completely different. I feel comfortable in the world and around others today so I no longer feel the urge to take a drink to take the edge off things. The promises within the Big Book have come to pass. I continue to practice the principles of AA in my everyday life and try and maintain a fit spiritual condition.

Thanks to AA I have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body, and have been sober for nearly thirteen years with no thought of taking a drink.