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First Step | Recovery Bytes | Turning Point of Tampa

The First Step, by Jenn F.

At my first AA meeting, I decided I wasn’t an alcoholic. You see, I compared myself to every person who shared.  I listened to people talking about DUI’s, losing their spouse over their addiction, losing jobs, going to jail…none of that had happened to me, YET. Sure, I’d driven drunk, woken up in places I didn’t recognize, spent an enormous amount of money supporting my drinking and drugging, missed work due to hangovers, blacked out most times I drank-BUT, I hadn’t had any tangible consequences, I rationalized.  So, I told myself that I wasn’t an alcoholic and left the meeting. I didn’t even get a white chip.   

I continued the misery of drinking for the next year and a half. Every day I promised myself I wouldn’t drink that day, and Every day I drank. I called out of work, I messed up my car, I couldn’t pay my bills, I was blacking out on a daily basis, I was isolating…I was miserable. I felt so weak and hopeless. Where was my will power?! I was so strong in other areas of my life, why couldn’t I beat this?!

As things continued to get worse, my best friend just happened to start dating someone who was in AA. He invited her to a speaker meeting with him and she was willing to go as support, but she didn’t want to go alone.  She asked me to come along, and I went will her.  

As I sat listening to the speaker, something happened. I didn’t compare. I listened to the similarities, not the differences. I felt such a connection to the hopelessness she described, the inability to stop, the desperation. I didn’t even realize I was crying until my best friend asked me if I was ok.  I looked at her and spoke the words that changed my life: I am an alcoholic. It felt right as soon as I said it. I knew I was speaking the truth I had been ignoring. Thus began my journey.   

I went to a meeting the next day and picked up a white chip. As I sat in that meeting and REALLY listened, something happened to me. I began to feel HOPE. If what these people said was true, if I listened and followed directions, my life could change.   

The hardest time of day for me was after work, I would stop each day to get alcohol to get me through the evening. So, once recognizing that as my toughest time, I began going directly to my meeting house after work to fellowship and wait for the 5:45 meeting to start. I committed to 90 meetings in 90 days, after all, I reasoned, I drank every day, I can go to an hour long meeting every day. I got a sponsor and began to work the steps. I started coming early to meetings and staying late to fellowship. Little by little, I began to see the changes in my life. My relationship with my kids, who had all but given up on me, began to blossom. I began to get my life back on track financially. I had a new set of people in my life that genuinely cared about me and wanted me to do well. They became my AA family. 

The most important changes, however, were within. I had always believed there was something out there greater than myself, but the idea of having a relationship with a higher power personal to me seemed foreign. Suddenly, as I became more and more committed to my life in sobriety, I began to see my Higher Power in action in every aspect of my life. And most importantly, I realized my Higher Power had always been with me, I just was too busy numbing my feelings to notice. 

Today, my sobriety is my life. I go to meetings, I sponsor others, I chair meetings, I fellowship. I know if I put my sobriety and my relationship with my higher power first, everything else will fall into place. I am so thankful for this wonderful way of life.  


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