This week’s HTYH is a continuation of Cindy’s story: While I was standing in that frozen parking lot staring at that empty ball diamond a woman named Rose came outside, and said, “Whatever you’re thinking, don’t worry, focus on what’s in front of you, and everything will be all right. They suggested that I should get a poker chip (beginner chip) and start listening to what was being said. I did as they suggested because already, I knew that they had something that I desperately wanted. They were sober and happy while I was miserable and sick and I didn’t want to feel like that any longer. I could not remember how long it had been since I was around honest, sober and happy people. My alcoholism had turned me into a person I didn’t like—it made a liar, cheat and a thief out of me and I became willing to do whatever they suggested; if they would’ve told me, “Stand on your head and chew gum.” I would’ve done it because I wanted what they had.

When they suggested I should get a poker chip I did and when they suggested I should get a sponsor I did that too because I was scared. There was a liquor store at the end of Carew Street and several people who left the South Unit went directly there and bought themselves a bottle. I feared that if I didn’t do as they suggested, I would go down that same miserable road and I didn’t want to go there.

I began to listen to what they said, I got a sponsor and I started feeling better—in leaps and bounds. It was like a light bulb lit up my mind and for the first time I thought, “Maybe I really do have a problem with alcohol?”
Can you imagine? I never had a clue that there was a connection between my problems and alcohol until my sponsor asked me to make a list of the bad things that had happened to me since Junior High School, the wrecked cars, the failed relationships, fights, the lost jobs, and when we returned to the top of the list and she asked me to put a check mark next to those bad things if alcohol was involved, I had a check mark next to every single thing that happened to me! The proof was in the pudding and when she said if I removed the alcohol from my life those bad things would stop happening to me, I became convinced that she was correct. Over and over again, I saw where alcohol had ruined almost everything good in my life.

Then the AA’s started talking to me about a God that could and would do for me what I could not do for myself–If He were sought. Even though I loved my Catholic grade school, hell, fire and damnation went with it. I still had the mistaken concept that the God thing would work for you, but not me because I didn’t believe I was worthy. I was not only guilty of sin, I was guilty of mortal sin, and I believed that I was already doomed to eternal hell.

The other AA’s and my sponsor kept on talking about getting down on their knees and asking God to remove their desire to drink alcohol and use drugs, but I remained skeptical. I wanted to try it, but my enlarged ego didn’t want anybody to see me getting down on my knees. I was nearing the end of my time at the South Unit and I was petrified that as soon as I was out of there I’d start drinking and using again so in the middle of the night, when it was quiet and the nurses were at the opposite end of the hall, I crept into the bathroom, got down on my knees, and said a simple prayer, “God, please remove my desire to drink alcohol and use drugs.” I swear to you, I have not had the desire to drink, or use drugs since that night.

John Barleycorn

The phantom writer of the column "Here's to Your Health". This writer is an active member of Alcoholics Anonymous and therefore must maintain anonymity. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer