Must Hit Bottom First

“Why all this insistence that every A.A. must hit bottom first?”

I bounced along the bottom for years as relationships, jobs, finances and health disintegrated. I tried therapy, fire-walking, and reading spiritual books but nothing changed the downward trajectory of my life. I was unemployed and running out of borrowed money. I was getting drunk twice a day, but the thought of quitting drinking never entered my mind because denial had me believing that a new big paying job would solve everything. Yet, I seemed to be paralyzed to take any actions to look for work. For months I trudged through every day with an ache of fear in my gut. Apparently something inside of me let go.  Then grace happened.

In a moment of clarity I was allowed a tiny glimpse of truth about myself. I was shown that there was a better way to go through life than the way I was going. Grace gave me the strength to get off the couch and ask a therapist for help. A little while later I walked into my first AA meeting floating on a pink cloud. From the very beginning I wanted what you had and was graced with a willingness to do what you did.

My higher power waits patiently for me to run out of my old ideas before showing me an easier softer way. It seems that ego needs to be beaten to a pulp before it takes a step back and makes way for spirit to enter my life. I found this to be true, not only with alcohol, but with every other defect of character. I have to become sick and tired of being sick and tired to be willing to let go of my old ideas and be changed. I still have many of the character defects I walked through the door with. The simple reason is because I haven’t yet hit bottom with them.

I learned that bouncing along the bottom is not the same as hitting bottom. A good example is my relationship with caffeine. I’ve been bouncing along the bottom with coffee for most of my adult life. I don’t sleep well if I drink coffee after about 12 o’clock in the afternoon. If I don’t sleep well the next day I’m tired and cranky. I’ve suffered hundreds restless nights and tired and cranky days. Yet every so often I still reach for a cup thinking this time will be different. When I was new I remember complaining to my sponsor about drinking too much coffee. He said, “Well, at least they won’t put you in jail for drinking too much coffee.” Maybe someday I’ll truly hit a bottom with coffee. Then God can come in and remove the insanity of believing I need coffee to live.