This week’s HTYH is a continuation of Casey’s story:  My sponsor said, “The only people in A.A. who don’t have sponsors are the ones who are not planning on sticking around.” This is a “we” program and not a “me” program, it’s one alcoholic sharing his or her experience, strength, and hope with another alcoholic who is still suffering.


My sponsors told me to get a home group and I still have a home group today. My home group meets on Friday nights in Sandusky, Ohio, it’s an old group, and it isn’t the best or worst group in the world. My sponsors told me it’s OK to stop competing. Before A.A. my whole life was lived by comparing me to everybody else. Everybody was either better than, or less than me. And here’s what I’ve learned in A.A. when I’m comparing myself to others, I see myself as unique, terminally unique and I cannot be a part of, one of many, or a team player. Today I am a member of a Group, it ain’t the best, worst, or special, I’m simply a member of a group of drunks. Our group’s primary purpose is to carry the message to those who still suffer from untreated alcoholism; end of story. We do a pretty good job of helping drunks and we have a good time while we’re doing it.

Sponsorship, working the steps, service work, home group and studying the Big Book will work every time; never have we seen a person fail who’s thoroughly followed our path. My personal experience and story is all that my sponsors allow me to share from the podium. I have never seen an alcoholic of my description, as described in the Big Book, do the total A.A. package, to the best of their ability, one day-at-a-time, and fail to stay sober.

On the other side of the coin I have seldom seen an alcoholic of our type succeed at staying sober who has not worked the steps, got a sponsor, went to meetings, read the book, carried the message to others and surrendered their will to a Higher Power. Those who do the daily actions get it and those who don’t won’t. It’s just that simple!

Have you ever walked into a bar, watched other people drink alcohol and expect to get drunk? How on earth can I come into the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous, sit in a chair, do nothing, watch other people recover and think that somehow, sobriety is going to rub off on me? I graduated from a major university in this country and I had no idea what an alcoholic was; I always had my own “sliding” definition of alcoholism. That was because as my alcoholism progressed I had to keep re-defining alcoholism so I wasn’t like that. An alcoholic was somebody like Otis on the Andy Griffith show. Otis was a real alcoholic; he needed A.A., but not me. I thought an alcoholic was somebody who drank every day, and that wasn’t me. Pretty soon I became a daily drinker so that definition had to go. An alcoholic is somebody who misses school or work, and never pays their bills. Pretty soon my alcoholism progressed some more and so I had to change my definition again. An alcoholic is somebody who’s drinking interfered with the priorities in their life and as my alcoholism progressed it interfered with priorities in my life and so I change my definition again. An alcoholic is somebody who goes to jail because of their drinking and soon after that I went to jail and so I had to really change that one. By the time I staggered through the doors of Alcoholics Anonymous my definition of an alcoholic was a guy who lived under a bridge, drank Mad Dog from a bottle in a brown bag. The person under the bridge is the “end result” of alcoholism and God only knows what he or she could’ve been, before their untreated alcoholism led them to final destruction. To be continued…

The Waynedale News Staff

John Barleycorn

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