— Bill Brown

Last month I celebrated 30 years clean and sober. I reflected on the destructive behaviors which ruled my life. I was powerless.
Until I entered the rooms of my 12-step program, I had no idea 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, rather than myself. I lived in a bubble filled with shame, guilt, fear, delusion, blame and anger. Someone told me early on, don’t ever forget your last drunk. I haven’t.

Early on it was difficult to ask for help. “Why am I going to come clean to complete strangers and share 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 and throughout our marriage, up until the day he died.
I’ve learned I cannot sponsor myself, be my own therapist or best judge of what is right. 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 and foremost is my Higher Power, then a sponsor, sticking with fellow sober travelers and helping others. Listening instead of lecturing, being open to new ideas and reaching out my hand.

It’s about us. To everyone trudging the road, thank you for getting me where I am today. I am here for you.

Please stay safe and healthy!

Thank you to our contributors for this month’s edition of Together AZ.