It was July of 2013. I was 17 years old. I had just moved to Las Vegas at around three weeks sober, fresh back from a relapse the month before. I was standing in front of a Friday night speaker meeting in the western part of the city.
My name is Dave and I am an alcoholic. I had my first drink at 17 years old and I was granted the gift of sobriety at the age of 22. In those 5 years, alcohol took away everything from me that would have kept me from getting sober.
After bouncing in and out of AA for about a year I knew if I wanted to stay sober I needed to do something different. I heard a guy at a meeting mention a conference down in Hyannis, briefly explained it and I was interested in seeing what it was about. I grabbed a couple of guys and drove an hour south to check it out. I was newly sober, didn’t know anyone down there. I saw people doing spirit fingers, dancing on their chairs, laughing and enjoying life. Then there was the kids outside smoking cigarettes where I spent most of my time awkwardly introducing myself to people and connecting with them on Facebook.
I was eighteen years old when I sat on the floor of my parent's family room, curled into a ball and sobbing that I could not stop drinking. My mother stared at me with the face of a woman who had tried everything within her means to fix me and simply said, "How can you be an alcoholic if you're not even 21 yet?" My parents, who had no experience with the disease of addiction, googled my first AA meeting for me. And when I set foot in that meeting, I expected everyone else in AA to ask me the same question. Turns out, they welcomed me with open arms, a big book and a phone list.
"We hope no one will consider these self-revealing accounts in bad taste. Our hope is that many alcoholic men and women, desperately in need, will see these pages, and we believe that it is only by fully disclosing ourselves and our problems that they will be persuaded to say, "Yes, I am one of them too; I must have this thing."" (Alcoholics Anonymous p.29)
A phrase often heard around the tables of AA is, "never say no to a request to be of service". I remember past-delegate Ginny J. saying something like this to me at our area 38 assemblies in eastern Missouri. When elder statespersons like Ginny J. say something I do my best to listen. Service has been an integral part of the "new design for living" that AA has provided.
My ninth grade history teacher in West Kendall, Florida, always quoted a line from the movie Shawshank Redemption: "You either get busy living or get busy dying!" The other students didn't pay him any attention, but I did. I knew there was something about him. This teacher eventually introduced me to AA, a place of redemption.
My name is Sarah and I'm an alcoholic. I grew up in Toronto, the daughter of two alcoholic parents. I drank and used drugs but had rules set up so I would not become an alcoholic like them. Of course the rules didn't help, there were endless loop holes and, of course, rules are meant to be broken and pushed and stepped over...
After a reminder of how to behave like adults in a group setting, we commence our 4.47-hour host meeting with a full agenda and a missing secretary's report (thanks, Brooke).
Though I didn't realize it at the time, I was definitely one of the lucky ones. On June 2nd 2008, at the age of 22, I walked into my very first meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. The room was lit by three candles and everyone was seated in chairs along the walls of the small room. As I walked in, still shaking from my hangover, I told myself this place was clearly not for me, but I promised I would go to this meeting and I was going to keep my word...if only because my dad was watching the only exit. For the next hour I sat in the darkest corner I could find judging everyone around me, desperately trying to find the differences and prove I was not like them.