Last month I celebrated 23 years clean and sober. I thought about all the times I tried quitting the destructive behaviors which ruled, and were ruining my life. How many times had I said, “This is it, no more!” Yet, I repeated that pattern over and over again. Powerless.

Me, powerless? Until I entered the rooms of a 12 step program, I had no clue I was powerless. It was easier to blame my genetics, where I lived, the job I had or the friends who just didn’t get me.  I learned to look outside my world and point the finger at my circumstances as the reason my life was deteriorating. A bubble filled with shame, guilt, fear, delusion, blame and anger… that’s where I lived. Someone told me early on, don’t ever forget your last drunk. I haven’t. Thinking about it still sends chills up my spine.
In the beginning it was difficult asking for help. “Why am I going to come clean to complete strangers and talk about all my awful secrets? Won’t they throw me out?” I wondered, “Are all these people just like me? They can’t drink either?” Understanding that concept was an eye opener.

Then it started to resonate; the fellowship, the sober people I began to meet  — we were in this together and it was a ‘we deal’. Bill Brown told me that on our first date. What I have learned is there are many things I cannot do alone. I cannot sponsor myself, be my own therapist or best judge of what is right for me. I need help and have to ask for it.

I have learned to swallow my pride and become willing to be vulnerable in front you. My ego will tell me I can figure out problems alone, but when I listen to all the crap I tell myself, I’m headed in the wrong direction.

The “we” deal is a simple formula. First my Higher Power, sponsor, fellow sober travelers and taking my chair in the rooms where I now feel comfortable. Listening instead of lecturing, being open to new ideas and reaching out my hand.

Because it isn’t all about me, it’s about us. To everyone trudging the road, I thank you for getting me here.