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Grapevine : August 2011
B efore I came to AA, the terror I lived with daily was suffocating. I spent days hidden away, try- ing to block out the sound of the world. I had progressed to daily drinking, sobering up long enough to make money to buy more booze. The fear of impending doom always hung over me. When I began going to meetings in Los Angeles, I knew I couldn't share my deepest, darkest secrets with any- one. But, the honesty and openness of the members in my home group cracked my armor. Even though they didn't look like they crawled out of the same garbage can I did, I believed they understood those dark days I spent trying to drown my emotions with large quantities of gin. For someone who was going to go to the grave with her secrets, I quickly opened up. Starting with my spon- sor, the dam burst open and I found the freedom that came from disclos- ing my painful past with another hu- man being. I felt safe and protected for the first time since childhood. She assured me I wasn't bad trying to get good, but sick trying to get well. One of my secrets was not be- ing there for my Dad when he was dying. Unable to sit with him and be there while he suffered was one of my largest regrets. The story of how I ne- glected the dogs I loved so much was another painful memory. I thought the floodgates would never close as I sat in my sponsor's home and poured out my sadness. She shared her horror stories of neglecting her children and not being able to be there for them. Her stories sounded worse than mine, but she seemed at peace. She always told me that we were doing the best we could, that we had a disease we were power- less over. If we could have done bet- ter, we would have. As I revealed my many regrets, day after day, she would remind me that God has given me a second chance at life. I can start over. As I celebrate 25 years of sobriety, I want to thank that band of drunks in my home group that carried the message to me in some very unique places, such as an abandoned dance studio and a raucous bar in an Ameri- can Legion hall. My sordid past has become my greatest asset to share with newcomers. As I sat with my sponsor, on her deathbed, holding her hand to help ease her suffering, I thought to myself that I did get a second chance at life, thanks to her. Ann B. Greenwood, S.C. I found the freedom that came from disclosing my painful past with another human being. aagrapevine.org 57