AA Tampa Newcomers Share

Recording myself while sharing on an online meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous about what compromises my sobriety and why a gift of desperation might not last.

Dave's been decorating our house in the Christmas spirit

Hi there. My name is Colton. I’m an alcoholic. Grateful to be here today.

I really like the topic of staying away from the first drink. It’s amazing to me how it’s not really about fortifying my life and my environment and all the conditions that I could control to stay away from that first drink. 

I know it’s not the relationship I’m in; it’s not the perfect partner; it’s not the perfect job or a state of optimal health. Those are times to watch out for, for sure. When I think “I’ve arrived”; when I think I’ve made it somewhere secure. What I’ve done is I have basically attached myself to this connection to another person, to a position or power or influence or health, or whatever it is. 

If I have that connection intact (dependence upon a person, place, or thing), I feel like I’m safe from relapse. In that dependence on external securities, things are prone to crumbling down eventually. Something doesn’t go right and my emotional sobriety really starts to be crippled at that point. And I can see myself at a position where all of a sudden a new “solution” is presenting itself that I might not even have thought of; it seems like an old friend is knocking and it could lead right to that decision to drink.

I’ve been looking back at the pattern now. 

I’ve been in situations where I could easily have taken someone else’s alcohol or had a chance to get a drink, whatever it was, but I just didn’t. I was secure enough in my own skin and I had enough wellness in my spiritual condition and devotion to my program to stick to my own path and prosperity. The thought to actually pick up a drink and consume it just didn’t really stick to me. 

And I’ve been in other situations where I’ve gone way out of my way just to acquire that which I believed was going to make me feel better or give me some power back or at least just change something. I think sometimes I’m so desperate for change in my situation that I’ll go to insane lengths. 

And another thing I was thinking about is this idea of the gift of desperation, and it really can be a gift. I’ve seen myself in a position where, “Wow, I am willing now to do something that I wasn’t willing to do before because this hurts so bad! I just gotta move.” 

But I’ve also seen myself when I recoup and get back on my feet: I’ll repackage that gift of desperation, take it right back to the store and return it. Then, I’ll pocket the cash and burn that on a bunch of pointless shit, you know? 

And it happens in all kinds of ways. Sometimes I have a problem with my car or a toothache or whatever else it might be. And I say, “Ah! I need to do something about this because I can’t stand how much it’s hurting me.” Same thing with the times when maybe I thought I was drinking safely for a period of weeks, months, etc. 

And all of a sudden one day, “Damn, it hurts! Alright, I need to do something about this.”

I need to get honest and you get back to the program, back in the rooms. I can’t be on the self-determined course for any longer and it’s really about that willingness, the humility and adoption of what y’all are doing that’s working. Thanks for letting me share.

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