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May 17, 2017. Posted in Uncategorized.

David H.

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. I didn't grow up in a household that had alcohol so when all of my friends starting drinking at 13 and 14, I held out. The first time I had a drink, something switched. Some people acquire alcoholism over a long period of time. My alcoholism came on immediately and began a downward spiral that I wasn't able to break until being introduced to Alcoholics Anonymous.

That first time I drank, I blacked out, got sick, was dropped off on my front doorstep and got caught by my mother. This was the best my drinking ever got. Within 6 months, I wound up in the hospital for my first underage drinking and alcohol poising having also had my stomach pumped in a blackout that I had not been aware of until a few weeks later when the night had been recounted to me. These immediate consequences led me to try everything I could to control my drinking so that I would blackout, but not have all the other embarrassments that followed. Looking back, any control was very quickly overcome by an obsession to drink, although I was not conscious of this at the time. A year later I got behind the wheel and destroyed my car in a DUI. The next three years brought on legal and financial problems, suspension of driving privilege, frequent job changes, moving from one group of friends to the other to find people that drank like me, and just overall putting alcohol in front of my family, friends, career, education, and freedom. My second DUI was to be the catalyst for bringing me back to AA. It wasn't the last time I drank, but it put me in the direction of finding AA.

Some years earlier I had been court ordered to attend a few meetings and I had heard a miserable old timer in the meeting refer to himself as "a real alcoholic". I now understand the difference but at the time I was looking for any reason I didn't belong and with that mindset, I would have latched onto anything despite how small it was. I was once again court ordered to meetings, but I still wasn't convinced. I didn't believe that I was an alcoholic, but the people in the meeting were talking about drinking and it had become my favorite topic. I stuck around until my sentence had been fulfilled and within that first month had begun to relate to what people were saying. I could finally see that I was absolutely powerless over alcohol and that my life (not just my drinking) had become completely unmanageable. Not only were the people in that meeting not drinking, they were happy! I believed that if I did they things that they had done that I could stay sober and be happy as well.

And that is exactly how sobriety has been for me. As a result of not drinking and taking the suggestions along the way, I haven't wanted to drink for over 6 years now, and I'm relatively happy most of the time. Some of the suggestions that have helped me stay sober were: getting a sponsor, getting a homegroup, developing a relationship with a higher power, reading the Big Book, practicing the 12 steps, making coffee, chairing meetings, taking meetings into rehabs and prisons, being involved with general service, and most importantly sitting with an alcoholic who hasn't yet taken his first sober breath.

Recently, I have had the opportunity to join up with the Philadelphia Bid committee for ICYPAA. YPAA in my area has opened my sobriety up to something that I hadn't even known existed a few years ago. I've been able to see an enthusiasm for sobriety and service in AA through YPAA that I want to be a part of.

One of my favorite lines in the AA Big Book is The last line in the preface. It reads "If you have a drinking problem, we hope that you may pause in reading one of the forty-two personal stories and think: 'Yes, that happened to me'; or, more important, 'Yes, I've felt like that'; or, most important, 'Yes, I believe this program can work for me too.'" My hope is that by reading my personal story, you may be able to relate in one of those ways. This program works and I can work for you as well.

Dave H.
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May 17, 2017

David H.