Before coming joining AA I really wasn’t sure what to expect. I wondered how often I would have to go to meetings, what kind of people would be there and how I would fit in. Most importantly I wondered just how I could possibly live my life knowing I would never be able to drink again?

Back then my understanding of the word ‘sobriety’ meant being able to get through the days without picking up a drink, but after nine months in the programme and working the programme each day, I understand that sobriety means much more than that.

The first two months in the programme were the hardest, I was new to meetings and there was a lot to take in. I was almost overwhelmed by how everything worked, the many different meetings each week I now had to plan my life around and desperately trying to remember as many names as possible from the rooms.

These things are all hard on a newcomer when joining a 12 step programme but the hardest thing (for me at least), was the fact that my physical compulsion to drink was still very much there. People will experience this in different ways, but in times of stress, loneliness or boredom an urge to drink would overwhelm me in those early weeks and months, it was a struggle to stay dry.

After my physical compulsion to drink had passed and I became more familiar and comfortable with meetings and the programme, I began to understand that sobriety was much more than staying dry. For people in the programme our sobriety extends beyond this, not picking up a drink is simply the first stage of our journey. We work the 12 steps each day to become emotionally sober and live a happy, fulfilling life without alcohol.

Each day I now look to live a more spiritual life, one of emotional sobriety. I ask how I can help others, how I can be of use and service. I think less about myself and more about those and the world around me. I try to see other points of view, accept each day and moment for what it is. I ask for guidance and direction from my higher power when times are hard and constantly remember to be grateful for everything I have in life.

Life isn’t always easy, it’s not supposed to be. However even when times get tough, I get to live a happier, more fulfilling life today thanks to the the twelve steps. For that I’m grateful.

I’ll leave it there

/ Jay