Hello! My name is Theresa and I’m an alcoholic.
As I write this entry, the climate is chilly, in the 20s (Fahrenheit), however the atmosphere is warm with excitement. The nation inaugurated its first Hawaiian president, who happens to be of both African and American heritage! As people celebrate this historic occasion, undoubtedly alcohol will be an accompaniment to the merry making. For those of us, such as myself, who have chosen the AA way we will avoid our favorite haunts where we were on a first name basis with the bartenders and liquor sellers. Instead, I and others who are brave enough to face the influx of thousands of people will catch the train/metro to a different location where everyone knows our name.
Today marks my 112th day of sobriety. Taking each day at a time, I am grateful to my higher power for being alive, sober and able to attend meetings at any time of the day. Over the last couple of weeks since I returned to Washington D.C. from Accra, Ghana, I have attended several AA meetings. Persons in the U.S. do not realize how fortunate they are to have meetings from 6:45 am to 12am every day. I attained my sobriety in Accra, Ghana. Newcomers are encouraged to attend 90 meetings in 90 days. However, I was not able to do that. I attended at most three meetings a week. There are fewer meetings in Accra. Unlike the meetings I have thus far attended in D.C. and Bethesda, Maryland, those in Accra are smaller and more intimate. The number of persons ranged from three to ten, while in D.C. and Bethesda meetings have up to fifty or more people. In accordance with AA’s fourth tradition, meetings are unique/autonomous. Meetings in Accra begin with the preamble, as do those in D.C. and Bethesda, however they go further in that they include “How It Works” from chapter 5 of the Big Book and the “Promises.” Accra AA meetings include Step Meetings, Big Book meetings and open meetings. Meetings are held at locations ranging from hospitals to the library of the Divine Word Missionaries. In northern Ghana I attended a meeting which was held under a tree. In the U.S., the meetings I have attended ranged from a Step Meeting focusing on the first three steps to an acceptance/chip meeting where I received my green three month chip and listened to the inspiring story of a lady who has been sober for 37 years. I braved -4 degrees Fahrenheit to attend a 6:45am meeting in Bethesda, a ‘fashionable’ meeting where the people who attend this meeting have achieved long term sobriety.
At AA meetings, I have met people who have been sober over a quarter of a century or more to people struggling to make it beyond twenty-four hours. I have chaired meetings and recently was asked to lead a meeting in Bethesda. I have sat in meetings with refugees, homeless persons, doctors, teachers, other professionals, students, and persons ranging from 18 to 80 years old or more. Some of the stories are harrowing, with near death experiences, jail and institutions, while others are less so, but poignant nevertheless. We may not be equal, but we all share one aspect in common - that we are powerless over alcohol, are alcoholics and have a desire to stay sober. I continue to mark off my days of sobriety on my calendar, one evening at a time. I keep my chips close and try to pray to my higher power each morning and evening. Each day is struggle, but the weight of the ball and chain of alcoholism is alleviated by coming back to a place called AA where everyone knows my name. Thank you for letting me share.