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Bill G's Story - First AA Meeting

I Had a Positive Feeling

By Bill G.

Updated July 10, 2007

An old girlfriend came looking for me said she would take me to Marathon for dinner. We had a nice early meal, then she took me to an AA meeting. That was fine with me. My father, by now, had been in AA for about 20 years, but I didn't know much about it. I just had a positive feeling. The folks there were pleasant, gave me coffee, and even a nearly whole pack of cigarettes.

One guy said he had been sober for 12 years, and that went right over my head. Another said he and been sober for two weeks, and that got my attention. Why would anyone stop drinking for two whole weeks and how did he do that anyway? I asked him why and he said drinking was a problem for him. I thought "poor fellow."

Someone else asked if I could not drink for 24 hours, just one day. Well, of course, anyone could do that. He said that a lot of people tried and failed because the booze's grip was too strong. He said that alcoholism was a disease but I knew that. I knew I didn't have it, although I joked about it like all my friends did. "Help, I'm an alcoholic, give me a beer, quick!

I Just Needed a Little Help

I stayed sober just to see if I could. I borrowed a couch from a friend and within two weeks I had a job and a down payment on a truck and some tools. In two more weeks all that was gone. I didn't really understand what had happened, but I knew if I stopped drinking, I could figure it all out. I just needed a little help with my thinking.

I talked to my father about it, and for some reason he asked what I thought of the AA meetings. Then I remembered that they were the ones who encouraged me to get sober. My fun-loving partying friends didn't much seem to care one way or the other.

They Gave Me a Big Book

I went to another meeting that my dad said he had heard of, and he even had a schedule someone gave him with meeting times and addresses on it. Lo and behold. This time the meeting was in Key West. The faces were different but I heard much the same things I heard in Marathon. Don't drink for today and come back tomorrow.

When I mentioned that they sounded like the folks in Marathon, they showed me the book they all used called the "Big Book." I asked where I could get it and they just gave me one. I went without drinking for a few days. The book disappeared somewhere.

Painkillers Nearly Killed Me

This scenario of going to a few meetings and quitting for a while lasted for nearly seven years. Life was good and mostly fun, but I had to keep a leash on my boozing.

I took a pretty nasty trip straight down off a building and broke some bones. That recovery involved various pain control drugs, and since I had a good reason I took all I could get from the doctors, and elsewhere. I moved again with my second wife to Gainesville where there was a university hospital and a good chance of getting my elbow rebuilt. The doctors asked what kind of painkillers seemed to work best for me and I created a stash that nearly killed me.

Helping Someone Else Will Help Me

That was a little over 20 years ago. When my wife gave up and left, I went to see a friend to pour out my troubles and found out he was in the same but different shape. He had no car, no license, but he went to meetings every day, so I drove him, for a year.

I began to go to meetings during the day when he was at work, getting in about three or four meetings a day, then the one in the evening he went to. This, I learned, was a perfect example of how helping someone else will help me.

It's Usually Fun

Today, I go a little less often but I still go. I have a sponsor and a home group. I do service work and I sponsor the few guys that have asked. It hurts when they don't make it. I know it's not my fault and just the disease, but it still hurts.

I do 12-step calls when asked but they seem to be fewer now since alkies have discovered the treatment center routine. My father and mother both got to know me sober and became comfortable with their new son. The really weird thing is, I like going to meetings, it's usually fun. That's all I ever wanted.

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