I have been granted two lives in one lifetime.
One lonely, one loved.
One lost, one led.
One selfish, one selfless.
One would think that having the diseases of alcoholism and addiction is only a curse, but I have come to find that it has been my blessing. Thanks to AA, I am being taught how to utilize this blessing for the good of others.
Ever since I was young, I always had the feeling that something was different about me. I just never seemed to fit in. I grew up in a good home; my single mother did the best she could to provide for me and my older sister. Our home in public housing was safe, drug-free, and Christian, despite what was going on around it.
Insecurities and anger inside me began to manifest around the age of 17. I began drinking and smoking marijuana because it was what everyone else was doing. The difference was that when others could stop, I found that I had to keep going. This began a pattern in my life.
I called myself a functional alcoholic. I maintained a job and started living on my own at the age of 18. I believe that I always knew that I had a problem but didn’t understand what it was. I sought help from doctors, institutions, and even the church, but nothing stuck, so I accepted it as something that would always be with me and tried to move on as best I could.
My son and I went through ups and downs, from living in treatment centers to my own three-story condo at one point, with periods of sobriety. But my personal demon always reared his ugly head after a while. There were some good times, but I always had that feeling that something was missing.
Fast forward to the present: I’m unemployed, recently released from jail, with no personal transportation or money, and reckoning from the shame of losing my home and job due to my alcoholism. I’m homeless. Thankfully my sister has taken me in for a time.
All this taken into account, I am also happier, more grateful, and more at peace than I have ever been in my life! I know this seems crazy. This is what I mean when I say that my curse was actually a blessing in disguise. If it had not been for it, I would have never found AA. One of our sayings is, “There is a solution.”
Many people think that AA is just a place where people drink coffee and tell stories about the drink, but this is not true. I have found that AA is a design for living. I have learned that I have a perception problem, and that my being so self-centered was the root of my problem. The thin missing was God (the “higher power” in AA terms). I went to church and parroted good sayings, but I never fully surrendered. That has changed now.
I am three months sober, and I am working toward self-sufficiency. I’m thankful for the program. I’m thankful for my sponsor.
Now I have a plan. I have a hope. I have clarity.
I really do feel like I have been allowed to live another life.