Since I can remember, I always had addictive tendencies. Anything I could do to take my mind off how I felt, or what I was thinking, I would do in excess. I was never comfortable in my own skin, I always lived in fear and from an early age, I knew there was something different about me. I had friends but was never the most popular. I played sports but was never the most athletic. I did well in school but was never the most intelligent. I always felt something was missing but I had no idea of what it was until I got sober and became a member of Alcoholics Anonymous.
As a teenager I sustained several traumatic injuries due to an automobile accident that left the right side of my face partially paralyzed. Between plastic surgeons, eye doctors, ear doctors, and physical therapists, I was prescribed a variety of narcotics to dull any thought or feeling I had. I was engulfed in low self-esteem, insecurities, anger, and fear. Alcohol and drugs soon became a necessity because I knew once I put the drink or drug in my system, I would not have to experience the negative thoughts, emotions, and beliefs…temporarily. At 16 years old I was a drug addict and an alcoholic. This lifestyle of me trying to run my life continued for nearly 20 years, spiraling out of control year by year, day by day, minute by minute. I finally got to the point that I felt I was a burden to anyone who was still in my life, and I was OK with the thought of not waking up. I could barely look at myself in the mirror and when I caught a glimpse of the person staring back at me, I was horrified with who I had become. Me not existing seemed to be a viable option and I didn’t know what to do with myself. In October of 2020, I overdosed and was given a new opportunity at life, which is where my journey in sobriety began. For me to embark on that journey, I had to admit that I was powerless over alcohol and that my life was unmanageable.
After a few weeks in detox and several months in rehab, I landed myself in a sober living residence. While in treatment it was strongly recommended that I get a sponsor who would take me through the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. At first, I was reluctant to this idea, but I just wanted to do whatever it took to stay sober, so I got a sponsor who I knew would be able to help me, but also be tough and supportive. I struggled with my sponsor in the beginning and always wanted to argue with everything he said. Over time I became open-minded, willing, honest, and accepting of his suggestions and recommendations. My sponsor explained the importance of establishing a relationship with a Higher Power and turning my will and life over to that Power. I didn’t quite understand what that meant early on, but I knew that when I decided to control things and run my own life, it never worked in my favor. There were 20 years of trying to rearrange life to suit myself and it never worked! I had to rely upon a Power other than myself and that Power came from the rooms of AA.
I began to accept the plan outlined in the Big Book and started trusting a God of my own understanding.
By working the steps of AA I learned what to do when faced with fear, resentments, self-pity, and dishonesty. I ask them to be removed immediately and direct my attention to helping another alcoholic. When I worked the steps of AA, I realized that I had spent so much of my life wrapped up in fear. It is what controlled my life for many years. Fear of the unknown, fear of being uncomfortable, and fear of what people will think of me created a life that revolved around alcohol and drugs. Fear had controlled almost every aspect of my life for many years, and it was the root of so many of my troubles. What I realized in AA, is that I was the sole creator of those fears but that I could overcome them with the help of a Higher Power and the people I met in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous. The fear that once controlled my life and created so much discomfort has diminished. By embracing my fears, I am able to grow spiritually, emotionally, and mentally.
Today I have a life worth living and that life doesn’t revolve around drugs and alcohol. I sponsor guys in AA which has given me the opportunity to carry the message that my sponsor passed on to me. I have a relationship with a God of my own understanding which is continuously evolving and changing and most importantly my God joins me in confronting my fears. I rely on something that isn’t me. Whether it is my Higher Power, my sponsor, or the group of friends I have gained in AA, I have come to realize that I am not alone on this journey in recovery. That “something” that was missing my entire life was a relationship with a God of my own understanding and it was uncovered in Alcoholics Anonymous. By turning my will and my life over to this God everyday, I am able to confront my fears and live an amazing life. That boy who was horrified to look at himself in the mirror and who lived in fear for so many years, has become a man that is confident in himself. That confidence came from the rooms of AA and a relationship with God. I now have purpose in my life and that is all because of overcoming fears in the rooms of AA. All I needed was a little bit of willingness to take some suggestions and I had to stop trying to control everything.