Just before I sobered up, if you had asked me if I needed to change anything about myself, I would have said "yeah, my employment status." I needed a job. Oh, not just any job, I needed a big, high-paying job with lots of responsibility. In my mind the reason why I sat home all day in my messy darkened apartment drinking red wine, smoking pot, and watching lame daytime television was because I wasn't working. A new job would fix everything. I had been a success before and would be again. A phoenix rising from the ashes. I needed my outsides to change but my insides were just fine, thank you very much.

I lived life in a growing web of dishonesty. Over the years I kept piling on the lies, embellishments, and half-truths in the belief that if I could only get you to like and accept me, then I could finally learn to like and accept myself. Toward the the end I was more or less a fictitious character who could mold himself to whatever he needed to be -- good employee, understanding boss, gentle lover, loving son, loyal friend. But the truth is I never had any real heart in any of these roles. I fooled a lot of people with my play acting, but I could never fool the man in the mirror who watched me shave. I walked through life knowing I was a fraud.

I showed up on the doorstep of Alcoholics Anonymous without a clue about the truth of who I really was. I used the tools of the program to slowly, slowly chip away at the falsehoods. Today I am not so much learning who I really am, but more so learning what I am not. I am no longer a liar, a cheat and a thief. And that's a hell of a deal.

My Eskimo

My Eskimo was a massage therapist named Bill S. Thirty plus years ago, Bill came to my home weekly to iron out the kinks in my super stressed-out body. Bill came over at 5, just as I arrived home from the office. Sometimes he had to wait a few minutes while I gulped down a couple of quick scotches - to get relaxed enough to be massaged!

I was at the top of my career and had recently married a beautiful actress. Bill wasn’t at all like my friends at the golf club. Yet there was something about him I was drawn to. I know today that Bill had spirit working in his life.

As he worked on me, he told me his story. Just seven years earlier he had been an alcoholic/drug addict living on the streets.  Now he was married to a professional manager, had a nice car and owned a home. “What did you do to change?” I asked. “I sobered up in AA,” he said. And went on to talk about his experiences.

I acted interested, but I really wasn’t. Quit drinking? Me? No way. But the next week he brought me a Big Book. I skimmed the first 164 pages and a few of the stories in the back, then promptly gave it to a friend who really needed it.

Fast forward a few months. The big-pay job was gone and my marriage was breaking up. Unable to take any responsibility, I blamed alcohol. I decided to quit drinking as an experiment. Next time Bill came over, I told him I wasn’t drinking. “Do you want to go to a meeting?” He asked.  I wasn’t sure. “Is there anything besides AA? “Well some folks go to Adult Children of Alcoholics, he said. What’s that? I asked. “in AA you have to admit you are an alcoholic and you can’t drink. In ACA all you have to do is admit your father was an alcoholic and you can drink all you want, he said.

I went to ACA for a few months and even half-assed worked the first few steps. I stayed sober for thirteen months and my life started to improve, but soon I went back to being large and in charge and picked up a glass of wine without a second thought. That one glass of wine began a four year deep decent into what I hope was my final bottom. Thanks to Bill, when I hit that bottom I knew exactly where to go.

More Will Be Revealed

God, as I misunderstand God, revealed itself to me for the first time on the first day of my recovery and God has been revealing more and more of itself to me ever since. I have no idea who or what God is, but I am absolutely convinced there is a loving power guiding my life to perfect balance, harmony and order as long as I do my part.

My first realization of God was on the day I signed up for outpatient treatment. That evening I realized I hadn’t thought about a drink all day. And I didn’t think about a drink the next day either or the day after that. I was struck sober. Before my first meeting, before I got a sponsor and before I worked any step, the thirty year desire to change the way I felt with alcohol and drugs was lifted clean out of me. I didn’t know it was God then, but today I absolutely believe that God does for me what I can not do for myself.
Today, I see glimpses of God everywhere I look:  In the eyes of little children, in the beauty and destruction of nature and especially in the intuition that shows me the way out of every painful experience without picking up a drink. When I’m paying attention, I feel the presence of God in every meeting I attend.

God continues to become real for me as let go of my opinions of how life should be and do the next indicated thing. My job is and practice honesty, open-mindedness and willingness to the best of my ability. Today I enjoy a faith that works in all conditions.

More is constantly being revealed to me. A few years ago I realized that my alcoholism is a gift from a loving God. There is no way I could’ve traveled from where I was 25 years ago to where I am today without having a disease that was going to kill me unless I treated it spiritually.