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Grapevine : February 2011
GROWING up, I felt termi- nally unique. I made great attempts to be better than most at everything I did--- school, work, relationships, etc. There always seemed to be a gap in my ability to con- form to what society deemed accept- able. I couldn't stand authority, but was too afraid to rebel. I was afraid of making others angry, so I kept to my- self most of the time and became an extreme introvert. I was always trying to be someone or something else, try- ing to figure out how to be comfort- able in my own skin. I felt unaccept- able. My drinking played a large part in my search for ease and comfort. I could go away when I drank. I wasn't drinking to get drunk. I just wanted to be happy as myself. I had hoped, when I got sober, that I would learn how to become comfortable with myself. What I didn't know was where that journey would take me. My life took a huge turn at five years of sobriety. I decided to change sponsors after we had been working together for four years. I'd worked through the Steps a few times and got some relief each time. But there was always the one thing I could never write down: my deepest, dark- est secret I was sure to go to my grave with. This secret was never to see the light of day; it managed to elude all Fourth and Fifth Steps---and I had no idea what it was. I stayed in bond- age because of it for many years. I got married, hoping to make myself and my family happy, only to turn around 14 months later and file for divorce. I thought I had it all---the man, the marriage, the house and the career. I was utterly insane and beginning to die slowly from the "dis-ease" of my alcoholism. In the chaos of divorce and the deluge of questions from my family, I just wanted to hide. This isolation took the form of going to meetings and not speaking, or, if I did speak, putting on a good front and not really sharing what was going on. My sponsor had said early on that if I felt I was no longer getting what I needed she'd support my moving on. That's exactly what I had come to realize; it was time for me to move on. I started going to some differ- ent meetings and met a woman, J., whom I soon asked to sponsor me. I thought that J. had a good program, and I instantly knew I could trust her with my life. I remember sitting in a coffee shop shortly after we started working together, feeling like a fail- ure. I told J. that I couldn't go on liv- ing an inauthentic life. I'd come to the jumping-off point the Big Book talks about. I could neither imagine my life as it was, or any other way. What was my choice to be? I couldn't keep living as I'd been doing to this point. I was becoming awakened to all the denial, the dishonesty and the masks I'd been hiding behind since childhood, and I was being exposed with breakneck Grapevine 17