Step One

I was a few days sober and floating on a pink cloud. I sat in counseling circle in the treatment center along with five or six other outpatients. When it was my turn to speak, I said, “I feel so good, I know I’ll never drink again.” The woman that ran the center, an ex-heroin junkie from New York with a pronounced lack of tolerance for newcomer bullshit, said, “That’s just ego Jeff, we don’t say crap like that in here. You have no idea what you will or won’t do in the future. Better you stay out of the future and concentrate on what you need to do to stay sober today.” Step One reminds me that the very first thing I need to do to stay sober today is to remember I have a disease that will kill me if I give it half a chance.

I’ve seen what happens to alcoholics who forget. At almost every meeting here in the US, I hear of people going out,some with significant time on the program. Most report they stopped going to meetings first, but not all of them. One guy shared that he just woke up with a drink in his hand. Step One helps me remember I am not bullet proof. I am not immune from picking up a drink even though I haven’t had one in a while. 

My brain will never forget the relief I felt from alcohol. My cares and concerns melted away after a few drinks. I am rubbed raw from my wife’s illness. Step One helps me remember I am in a vulnerable place and without spiritual help I do not have the strength to resist the relief that alcohol promises. Gratefully I have tools that will get me through anything that life throws at me without a drink, but I won't pick up the tools and use them if I forget Step One.