This week’s HTYH is a continuation of Cindy’s story: I have come to believe that a benevolent God, of my understanding, kept me alive long enough to find Alcoholics Anonymous. God led me to A.A. and then A.A. led me to God. The people in A.A. surrounded me with love and humor until I could learn to love and laugh again. I surrendered to my sponsor too and we worked the 12 steps together, but I take little credit because it began, on my knees, in the bathroom of the South Unit when I prayed, “God, please help me.” The next day, the people at the South Unit, who were in recovery too, took me to another A.A. meeting.

I heard them talking about praying in the morning and asking God for help, and saying, “Thank You,” each night for keeping them sober another day. These were the basics that fortunately stuck with me and I’m still doing them today. They repeated these same basics over and over because we must hear them over and over. An alcoholic can hear the same thing 99 times and finally on the 100th time, they have an Ah-Ha moment and say, “Oh Yeah, I get it.”

God gave us one tongue and two ears so that we could listen twice as much as we talk, but when we first come to A.A. our tongues are so busy that our ears cannot hear. I heard the simple things that we do each day and eventually it dawned on me-if they worked for them, they would work for me too. “Keep It Simple” is my motto; I adopted it because alcoholics tend to complicate the simple, basic, things that keep us sober.

One old guy used to say that if we go to bed sober tonight we are winners no matter what happened to us that day, but if we don’t, we’re losers, no matter what we may have. We lose our home, family, self-respect, job, money and worst of all, our relationship with God—everything good in life vanishes.

Daily prayer and meditation are as essential to alcoholics as food, air and water, we either do them or, we die an alcoholic death. My sponsor knew how sick I was and she wasn’t messing around, I needed help and fast—help from a power greater then me. As soon as the South Unit released me, she said, “We’re going to work the 12 steps because that’s how you find a God that can and will do for you what you could not do for yourself—stop drinking alcohol.”

Beginning with Step One: “We” admitted that we were powerless over alcohol-that our lives had become unmanageable-I totally surrendered to this idea.

Next came Step Two: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. If I’ve surrendered to the idea that I am powerless over alcohol then how can I find a Power, greater than me, I need to overcome my powerlessness over alcohol? I must “Come to believe,” that a Power greater than me could restore me to sanity. We were where no human power could help us and another pertinent idea is that “God could and would if He were sought.”

We were ready for Step Three: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood Him. I knelt down on my sponsor’s kitchen floor with her and we said the Third Step Prayer together. Whenever two or more of us are gathered in His name, He is with us—The Divine Third. We said: God we offer ourselves to Thee–to build with us and do with us as Thou wilt. Relieve us of the bondage of self, so that we may better do Thy will. Take away our difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those whom we would help of Thy Power, Thy Love and Thy way of life, may we do Thy will always!

I was ready to work Step Four. To be continued.

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