How AA Changed my Life

26 Dec

What a luxury to have time to post! I’m enjoying the space that Christmas brings to think and reflect, and of course, my mind is coming back again and again to how I have got and stayed sober.

Someone who has been following this blog asked for help this morning and as I responded, I found myself writing about what changed for me the final time I put down the drink.

I’ve written about how AA has worked for me previously, but I want to document it again, because its power has, for me, been overwhelming.

When I found the blogging world I rejoiced because all of a sudden, I found people who I could relate to, who drank like I did. I would NEVER have called myself an alcoholic. I was just someone whose drinking had got painful and out of control. I looked around at the women wiring these blog and thought “this is it! there’s a breed of people just like me who aren’t proper alcoholics.”

I confess, whilst finding the blogging world was a godsend on one hand, on the other, it initially turned me off more traditional recovery methods. I saw an undercurrent feeling which defined this kind of sobriety as a (perhaps preferable?) route to living without the drink, a stance of “we don’t fit AA and we’ve found a way to get sober on our own.” This alternative way that wasn’t necessarily anti-AA, but somehow felt like a more Middle Class & intellectual way of getting sober. This approach to getting sober was at first encouraging as I witnessed person after person stopping drinking through their own strength and the help of the blogging community. Writing out and working through my problems as others around me were doing seemed a perfect solution. And yet, when I kept failing to get sober, I saw it somehow as a lack of strength- if these women around me could do it, why couldn’t I?

I remember vividly reading something on Soberistas & their related literature which positioned that community as an AA-alternative, for those who didn’t fit AA or didn’t want to go. Because of my ego and image of myself as an intelligent young woman, I aligned myself more with a community like Soberistas than to AA. And yet it didn’t get me sober. And I suspect, for me, it never would have done.

When I finally dragged myself to an AA meeting through sheer desperation, it felt like Coming Home. I have NEVER in my entire life experienced a sensation like I did that day. I felt an overwhelming sense of relief wash over me as I knew that not only was everything going to be ok, but that I had found my people. People who on the surface came in all shapes, sizes and from all strata of society. But who underneath were just different shades of the same colour that is my essence. From that day onwards, there was a solution for me that actually worked. Almost a year on, ‘the compulsion to drink has been removed’ just as they promise and I have found a great group of friends.

And more than just stopping me from drinking, working through the programme and 12 steps has helped me in ALL aspects of my life. My relationships are improving, my spirituality has grown into an ever-present comfort blanket, the lifetime undercurrent of anxiety I have felt has subsided. Little did I know when I walked into that room that declaring myself an alcoholic would answer a question I’ve had my whole life: ‘why do I feel different?’

I knew from when I was very small that I was a super-sensitive soul, and as I grew into my teenage years, the gaping chasm of nothingness I felt sometimes threatened to topple me. Here, in AA, I had found a group of people who understood these feelings and have found a way to work through them. Therapy hadn’t worked, self help books hadn’t worked, but sitting in a cold room with friendly faces and terrible coffee turned out to be my lifeline.

My sense of a ‘higher power’ is a fluid one. Sometimes it’s a ‘God’ in the more traditional sense, who has a life plan for us. Sometimes it’s a less tangible spirituality that I draw strength from. Whatever form it takes doesn’t matter. Stepping outside myself and believing there’s more to the universe than the strength (or otherwise) of my own will has been transformative.

I hear over and over again people saying they won’t go to AA because of ‘the God stuff.’ I felt the same. And yet here I am, having found great comfort and fortitude in the notion of a higher power

I’m not writing this post to preach or to push AA- one of the traditions of the programme is that its appeal is through “attraction not promotion.’ But I wanted to put pen to paper to articulate the amazing diversion my life has taken since coming in. It has been an overwhelmingly positive experience, and I DID NOT WANT TO GO. I thought it would be the last place that would help me, but it turns out that when I get off my high horse, it’s the place I feel most at home.

Happy Boxing Day to you All

11 Responses to “How AA Changed my Life”

  1. ladyhaggismcbaggis December 26, 2014 at 11:58 am #

    I am enjoying your Christmas blog posts so much! And this has inspired me to give AA a try too. Inspired to think that this time next year I could have a year and a half under my belt – and truly start to live life to its best.

    • FitFatFood December 26, 2014 at 1:08 pm #

      Great stuff! If you go they dont sign up forever, so always worth trying 😉

  2. lucy2610 December 26, 2014 at 12:03 pm #

    Great post FFF and what works for you works for you 🙂 I’ve been doing Skype interviews with Veronica where we discuss the 12 steps and for me open-mindedness is key. I am learning a great deal about myself and the fellowship as part of that and I feel I need to head back to the rooms to reassess with this new knowledge and view xx

    • FitFatFood December 26, 2014 at 1:09 pm #

      That’s great. I need to catch up with those interviews.

      I went in with an open mind because I was deaperate; on another day it might not have been such a well timed first entry and I might have written it off…

      Keep us posted x

  3. Terms of Surrender December 26, 2014 at 3:58 pm #

    Great post!

  4. carrythemessage December 26, 2014 at 6:27 pm #

    Yeah, it would seem that those in 12 step are probably in the minority of the sober bloggers. Not counting – just a general sense. And that is great in that the road is open to all. Not everyone aligns themselves to AA and AA doesn’t pretend to be the only game in town. There are many roads to recovery, and I think those who aren’t in AA probably blog more because in AA we have the fellowship of the rooms and share in person and may not need the feel to also share online in a blog. That is pure conjecture on my part, by the way, so it’s just an unfounded opinion…lol.

    Anyway, glad you found the rooms and saw that it *was* for you. I had no choice in that it was the only thing presented to me. And I took it with all the desperation of a drowning man. And it’s worked for me. Completely. So as open as I am to other methods of getting and staying sober (and happy), I am also transparent in what has worked for me. And that’s really all we can share – what has worked for us, without talking trash about other methods.

    Thank you for this post. I love gratitude, and this has it in spades.


  5. ainsobriety December 27, 2014 at 8:10 am #

    Beautiful post.
    When i finally quit drinking it was by fear. Fear that my carefully put together facade was cracking. Fear i was going to lose everything.
    This was after years of trying to cut back, moderate, quit. Never, ever even vonsidering i was an alcoholic. Just that i drank too much.

    I would probably still be white knuckling it today if i hadn’t read some drinking memoirs. And had my eyes opened to the idea that perhaps i was an alcoholic after all. And maybe i needed to see just what AA was all about.

    Open mindedness is important. The 12 steps provide me a path to self awareness. The people in meeting show me i am not alone.

    Blogging is a good source of support, but AA is also an important part of my recovery.

    I love how you described it for you.

    • FitFatFood December 27, 2014 at 10:24 am #

      Thank you.

      I hear some people write off AA without exploring it for whatever reason they might have, so I wanted to share my overwhelmingly positive experience. For me, I never leave a meeting feeling worse than when I walked through that door.

  6. Sarah January 5, 2015 at 12:32 pm #

    thanks for sharing this story. i feel much the same about AA. i really didn’t want to go at first. i was so angry that i couldn’t fix this myself. i imagined every stereotype of a typical aa person and the rooms. i thought AA was about sadness and hopelessness. and even if i (still) think the wording of he “big book” and the “twelve steps” are kinda ridiculous and doesn’t 100% resonate with me – going to meetings and beginning to “work the program” has keep me sober and begin to feel so much happier and calmer. i have felt loved and and cared for. i have cried ALOT. I have laughed ALOT. i’ve meet some really fun and funny people who are sober and are totally inspirational. AA is not what i expected. i’d recommend anyone struggling with staying sober try it. but with the caveat too – you got to try and go to lots of meetings. it took me a while to find a couple of meetings I love – but once you find a meeting group you like, its a joy.

    the online world has also been amazing and an important support for me – but the in person contact aa gives me is now my main pillar of sobriety.

  7. mishedup January 18, 2015 at 8:59 pm #

    Awesome post.
    I am absolutely on board with any way that people get, and stay sober, and I have no illusions that there is one way..we are all so different.
    I do admit to getting frustrated with those who dismiss AA out of hand, without even trying it, especially those who dismiss it and are still drinking…which was me for quite a while.
    But here’s the thing I have learned, that what other’s think has no bearing on me and the fact that AA did work for me is fabulous for ME!
    I was kept out for a while because of the god thing, and it did hamper my working of the steps. I did it but there was always something lacking. I found that lack filled when i began to do yoga, which opened me enough to allow some sort of spirituality to present itself to me, and since then my AA program has also taken of.
    So many ways to be sober, even in AA….
    I am just grateful that I am sober, and that others find their way too, no matter how.
    It;s an amazing life!

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