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I found AA on October 15, 1989 (so they tell me) In AA they told me I was an alcoholic and an addict. I smelled like booze and had evidence of needle use. It is important to hear that AA members, not counselors, not judges, not treatment centers told me what I was, the fellowship is amazing in so many ways, it is also flawed.
My first (real) sponsor was picked for me. The two I picked previously seemed to know less about what to do now that I was a few days sober than I did. When folks said "just don't drink" I thought I was in one more place that I would fail. Then at 60 days or so I ran into an old friend in a meeting. His example proved more powerful than any rhetoric I was hearing (or any real truth for that fact- I wasn't open) He introduced me to the man who would take me through the steps. The first thing he did was point me to the book. I was 22 years old and had questions. Questions in AA where I was were often interpreted as a lack of faith. Jack put me on page 44 in We Agnostics (If when you honestly want to....) I felt sunk when the solution was presented a few words later (must find a spiritual way of life). So we talked, smoked cigarettes, drank coffee, and spoke some more. Jack opened up his story to me. He offered no suggestions, no instructions, no God box, he opened up himself. I don't know if anyone before had done such a thing.
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It's good to talk.