District 62 Of Northern Illinois Area 20
Oswego - Montgomery - Yorkville - Plano -
Bristol - Little Rock - Millbrook - Newark
Grapes of Wrath
I'm ashamed to admit that I cheated on my husband. My illicit affair lasted several years. My partner's name was Robert...as in Robert Mondavi*. I also dallied around with Ernest and Julio*, and several others. I couldn't get enough of them. I started out with a date here and there but soon I had to be with one of them everyday. At first I'd wait until dinner time for a "rendezvous" but then our get-togethers became so enjoyable that we'd meet earlier and earlier in the day. Before the kids came home from school, with lunch, before lunch, and eventually in the morning. I had to pick up my partners at various locations around town so that the locals wouldn't get suspicious. Likewise, I would discard any evidence of my romances in various garbage cans in the area so that my husband wouldn't realize that his affection had been replaced. I knew I had hit bottom when I started to miss work due to Robert* and the gang and when I stopped caring about life.
I never dreamed I'd become an alcoholic. I have no history of alcoholism in my immediate family. I never really enjoyed drinking until my 30's. I still had my home, my job, and my family. I was active in the community and at my church. However, alcohol ruled my days. I had to have it just to function.
Thank goodness, I made my way to treatment and then to AA. I was very scared to attend my first meeting so I chose to go to a women's meeting which where I thought I'd be a little less intimidated. No one gave me a hard time at the meeting. No one judged me. In fact, these women were very welcoming and assured me that I was in the right place. Each woman shared a bit of her own story and from their experiences, I knew we had a lot in common. These ladies even gave me their phone numbers in case I needed to talk later. I didn't have to commit to never drinking again. I was encouraged to not drink for only the next 24 hours.
I've now been sober for almost 3 years. My life is good. I don't have to plan my day around when, where, and what to drink. My family is happy. I'm happy. Ernest and Julio* are out of my life. They've been replaced by a serenity and a freedom that I didn't think I could have again.
*References to Robert Mondavi, Ernest and Julio (Gallo) are names of popular winemakers.
Recently Found Faith
Through the grace of god I’m sober. I am forever grateful for this gift of sobriety. There are times I still struggle with fear. I sometimes find it difficult to let go and let God. I’ve found it difficult at times trusting God when I’ve turned my life and will over to his care. Therefore my pattern has been to turn things over only to take my will back.
So it’s not surprising that far too often I’m caught up in fear. Fear causes anxiety and worry as well as wasted energy. Fear has exhausted me and has taken a toll on me at times. This self- defeating behavior has caused me some real unhappiness. Fear has caused me to be angry which more often than not, I’ve directed towards myself and misdirected toward other.
I have paid a price emotionally, mentally s and spiritually. I’ve made a decision just for today not to continue to let fear have power over me. What’s imperative for me is start my day with God (quit time) and focus on today. When I think about yesterday or project the future it causes me necessary stress, which leads to fear.
Recently I had a spiritual experience. I’ve had these before. This one was different and unexpected. God always gives us what we need. This happened when a friend pointed out how fearful I am and also pointed my lack of faith. At the time I had car trouble. I was afraid my car would break down and leave me stranded. I worried how I would get to work and meetings. I had fear I would not have enough money for car repairs. I am now full of fear and worry. So I prayed and let it go. I turned it over to God like I was told to do, Left it in his loving capable hands. Guess What! The things I feared never happened. (Sound familiar) as it turned out I had been putting too much oil in my car, Thinking I knew what I was doing the right thing (Pride) therefore my car was unable to perform well.
My friend suggested I get an oil change. The mechanic drained the excess oil problem solved cost a total of $35. All of this came about when I turned it over to God and left it there. I’m grateful to God and the people he puts in our path. He gives us what we need.
In the beginning I never had True Tolerance, of anyone. I came to the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous and a seed was planted. “What is our code?” Don’t drink and come to meetings, I thought was the code.
I later came to understand from reading the Big Book page 84 Into Action “Love and Tolerance of others is our code.” I wanted what you had and I was willing to go to any length. Alcoholics Anonymous is about change. It is not just about not picking up a drink, but changing my behaviors. Learning that my thinking got me where I was, therefore, this needs to change. “So we clean house with the family, asking each morning in meditation that our Creator show us the way of patience, Tolerance, kindliness and love.” (BB pg. 84). It is a journey every day that I continue to work. I begin each morning asking for guidance from my Higher Power to not drink and to be Tolerant of others. I am human, some days this Prayer is said several times. Some days, my will unfortunately dominates, which then ends with making amends. “We begin to see that all people, including ourselves, are to some extent emotionally ill as well as frequently wrong, and then we approach True Tolerance and see what real love for our fellows actually means.” (12&12 pg. 92). I have opened my eyes and my heart to understand I have a disease, and my thinking will cause my actions to harm others. This is not how I would like to be treated. I need to treat people, how I would like to be treated. Which is with love and Tolerance. I do my best to understand that people I come in contact with may be suffering. People in my life tolerated acts that I committed, verbal attacks upon them and yet they tolerated me, knowing that I am suffering from the disease of alcoholism. Today I am not the director. People have their own thoughts, ideas and beliefs. Today I need to respect and tolerate this, just as they do for me. I “find [myself] in possession of a degree of honesty, tolerance, unselfishness, peace of mind, and love of which [I] had thought [myself] quite incapable.” (12&12 pg. 107). Thanks to the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous, a Great Sponsor and of course, God my Higher Power for his daily guidance.