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Grapevine : September 2011
to grow old with my wife. I knew that Idrankalotandhadformostofmy life, but thought I could quit anytime I wanted. Except now, even when it was the only way I might survive, I wasn't so sure. I still had urges and cravings and wanted to run my life just as I always had. How and where was I ever going to find a cure for my problem? I was told that AA was the place; that it did not have a cure, but a solution. When I was released from the hospital in the beginning of 2007, I attended my first Alcoholics Anony- mous meeting. I saw many happy faces, people who seemed to have serenity, confidence, faith, hope and a willing desire to help others. I took some suggestions, like getting a spon- sor and a Big Book, doing the Steps and attending meetings. I stayed dry, but nothing was bringing me what I had seen in others. I prayed constantly, but had yet to find what I needed. I still had crav- ings and was depressed. What was I doing wrong? What was I missing? A young man stepped into my life one evening, introduced himself and offered to take me through the Big Book, the Steps and the program. I told him I had a sponsor, had fin- ished the Steps and read the book. What I didn't tell him was that I had not used my sponsor. I had read the book, but didn't understand it. I had done the Steps---on my own. I was too proud to ask others for help and guid- ance. As a result, I was not growing. I was out of options. I had to give this program an honest chance. To fail, for me, was to die. We began with the Big Book, pausing to talk about sentences, para- graphs, chapters and the program. I noticed that the book I had read was not the same book we were reading. The Steps I had done by myself in no way resembled the Steps that we did together. The program I was work- ing was in no way the program that an alcoholic needs to experience the Promises, and to gain a better, more productive life. He told me the pro- gram is about one alcoholic working with another, because they under- stand each other's problems like no others can. Yes, it is the accumulation of many factors that has given me what I have been seeking. I have hope and love, for myself and others. I am ex- periencing life as I never have before. I still attend meetings all over the area with other alcoholics, reaching out my hand to others. God has done for me what I could not have done for myself. He put me in touch with this program, with others who strive for sobriety and a better life. One alcoholic working with an- other, with help from a Higher Power, from a program, from fellowship, from love and understanding ... that is my spiritual awakening.Charlie S. West Sacramento, Calif. aagrapevine.org 55