Try it Out – You’ve Got Nothing to Lose
I can still vividly remember the first time I saw the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. It was day two of a medically-assisted detox – I had uncontrollable shakes and cravings, and was stumbling around the treatment center like a zombie in a fog of misery and shame. The 12 Steps hung triumphantly on a large banner in the group meeting room, sharing the spotlight with a matching banner of the 12 Traditions. I remember literally rolling my eyes as I read the two lists. Do people actually do these things? That’s cute. I guess I’ll just play along while I’m here…I’m not sure I need this anyhow.
You see, I used to think that AA was for “losers:” high-school dropouts, heathens, crazy people, low-life criminals, etc. I wasn’t like “them;” I was just going through a “stressful time in life.” I had been a straight-A-student-athlete at a prestigious university; graduated from law school a semester early, nabbed a good job as an attorney in Dallas, and had just married a neurologist. I wasn’t a “loser,” I just needed to “take a little break.” I ignorantly believed that my 30-day “vacation” in the picturesque Texas Hill Country (complete with a little therapy, counseling, meditation, clean eating, and yoga) would ultimately “fix” me. I was even convinced that after a little “time out,” I might be able to enjoy and control my drinking like any normal person.
I proceeded to half-heartedly work through the first four steps at treatment, knowing in my heart that I didn’t fully intend to live a life of sobriety. Of course, within a few hours of checking out of treatment, I got drunk again… what a surprise! (I’m joking… it’s totally not surprising.) After that, it took another 30 day inpatient stint, and about 20 days of living in absolute hell before I was persuaded that I really did need help… or I was going to die a slow, painful death. I finally admitted that I was utterly powerless over alcohol, and in doing so, had conceded to Step 1 without even knowing it.
Deciding then that I had nothing to lose, I mindfully worked the rest of the steps with a sponsor during long-term treatment in California, and again in sober living back in Dallas. Slowly but surely, the obsession to drink was removed – working the steps really DID work.
Millions of men and women have reclaimed their lives by following the plan of action outlined in the 12 Steps of AA. If you’re not entirely certain they will work for you, I encourage you to give them a try… a REAL try. What have you got to lose anyway? Nothing – in fact, you have everything to gain. You’ll gain back your health, your self-respect, and your motivation for living. You’ll gain a whole host of friends who understand you and can relate to your struggles. Try it out – and if it doesn’t work, you won’t be any worse off than you were before!
*If you want more information on how the 12 Steps work, visit a meeting in your city, or call Zach at Lakewood Recovery – he or one of his staff members would be happy to chat with you about anything recovery related, not just sober living.
By: Dana M.