MY THIRD STEP PRAYER Dear Lord, My God, I am so grateful for this gift from You of sobriety; this gift which has allowed me to be another of those who can proclaim to any who would listen, Your LOVE, Your KINDNESS, Your PATIENCE, Your FATHERHOOD, Your OMNIPOTENCE!
Following are some thoughts on my first 24 hours of sobriety. For nearly twenty-five years I had sunk progressively into the alcoholic abyss of total self-centeredness, fear, EXTREME paranoia, and alcoholic insanity.
This is a slightly edited reprint of my March 18, 2009 blog post--after all it IS my Anniversary. You will not read more about this after this day.
Five minutes before midnight on Monday March 18, 1974, I had my last and final drink of alcohol. At that moment I was infused with an opportunity available to many, but which comparatively few have accepted. It was an opportunity to begin a second life, to be one with YOU--that unique minority of humans who are fortunate enough to be given another chance. I was allowed to live two complete and distinct lives in one lifetime.
NOTE: I celebrate my anniversary based on the day of my "last drink"...I see no reason I must change. Co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous Dr Bob had two beers the morning of June 10, 1935, and by night the same day he had completed Step Nine--even before there was a "Step nine". And AA continues to celebrate it's anniversary on June 10 each year, the date of Dr Bob's last drink!
Tuesday March 19, 1974 8:30 PM:
It was very dark that night (or so it seemed to me!) when I walked for the first time into an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting at Trinity-By-The-Cove Church, in Port Royal, into what was called then (and still is) "The Naples Group". Being "fashionably" five minutes late, I was thinking, "DUMB, Steve--look what you've done now. This is the stupidest move you have EVER made...you must really be sick! I had expected to sneak quietly into the room, sit, shake, and sweat (the three s's?) in the back, and figure out "How am I going to get out of this predicament?"
All I needed was a few drinks to get me back to normal. Remember...I had my last drink just 21 hours before. (Yes, I had a desire to stop drinking--maybe until 9PM?) Yes, I certainly was willing to do ANYTHING to have a better life--anything......except stop drinking!
But do you know, at the same time, I had decided that I would never drink again. I did not know how, because nothing before had worked for me. I did not know that I COULD "not drink" one day at a time!
Well, a fellow came walking fast, out into the parking lot, out from that meeting, almost falling down the few steps, to greet me, saying, "I'm Jim F...welcome." Then, no questions asked, he proceeded to guide me first into the meeting room, right past everyone. I "unobtrusively" bumped into a couple fellows, spilled someone's coffee, fell across a couple chairs on the way to--guess where?--the door at the other end of the room! So, already, I was ushered "in and out" of AA in 30 seconds.
Outside, he herded me across a small courtyard into a smaller, very smoky, very crowded room, called the "Beginner's Room". How did they know? The topic of this meeting was Steps One, Two, and Three. Thank God, when I arrived, they were already on Step TWO! I thought, one-third of the meeting must be over! Because all I wanted to do was get out of there. Not one memorable (to me) word was said during that meeting, except what they all sort of shouted at one another before leaving--not to me, of course! "Don't drink" and "Come back next week." But do you know what? That's what I heard them say. That's exactly what I did!
THURSDAY MARCH 18, 2010
I have learned that God makes use of other people in order to work with us--and talk with us--and that's how God was working in my life, then...and now, allowing me to write to you and bear witness that a completely helpless, hopeless, powerless, very sick piece of human flesh, enslaved to the drug alcohol (and a few well-known pharmaceutical products) was picked up and delivered from alcoholic bondage, and made well again.
And I am granted a daily reprieve, contingent on my spiritual condition--no, wait--contingent on the MAINTENANCE of my spiritual condition. (Being completely human, my spiritual "condition" can vary greatly from moment to moment on any given day.)
Finally, I wish to say I am so grateful to my Higher Power, for bringing me to Alcoholics Anonymous. I'm grateful to Alcoholics Anonymous for giving me back my God, for giving me back my life. Thank God for giving me you, and thank YOU for giving me God!
And CERTAINLY not the least, all my blogger friends--my wonderful 'peeps'--have shown me SO MUCH about how to live, how to love (I'm still learning "how") and how to help others in many ways. Within me is a fast-beating heart which burns with the fire of love for God, and all He has created, and you, my Peeps. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
In Attitude Change, in Gratitude, and in LOVE!