“I feel like a baby bird,” I said during a meeting when I was newly sober. I felt shaky and unsure of myself and like I didn’t know how to do anything as a sober person. I was happy to no longer be a slave to my addiction, but I also had no idea who I was anymore, or how to function in the world as “Sober Julie.” It had taken me a long time to attain sobriety, but once I’d managed to string a few sober days together, I kept going. Throughout the process, I recall feeling uncomfortable in my own skin, all the time. One day in a women’s group I was attending, someone asked, “So, we’re just supposed to learn how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable?” and the answer was “Yes.” With that in mind, I set out to do just that, and eventually I started to feel less and less discomfort. So what did I do exactly? Well, the first thing was coming to believe that I deserved a good life in sobriety, even at the times when all I wanted was to run away and escape from reality. I decided to fake it ‘til I made it.
Before we even decide on what we call ourselves (‘Agnostic’, ‘Secular’, ‘WAAFT’, ‘No-Prayer’, etc.), we should also agree upon what exactly makes an AA group or meeting ‘one of ours’... And yes, we should agree on a name too.
This week, we are publishing two articles on sponsorship. The first is written by Ashley H. from Jacksonville, Florida and the other by Laurie A. from the United Kingdom. Both stories were written from the author's personal experience, and we hope they will generate a lively discussion of what Ernest Kurtz in his book Not—God, A History of Alcoholics Anonymous called "the unique A.A. phenomenon of sponsorship." (Not–God, p. 89).
For me the heart of Alcoholics Anonymous has always been the 24-Hour Plan. A day at a time we stay away from the First Drink. I first heard about it as a boy — from my father over the family dinner table. A friend of his had joined AA and described it to him. My father was fascinated by the power and simplicity of the 24-Hour Plan. If you don't pick up the first drink, you can't get drunk — you won't have to struggle against drinking the second, or third, or sixth, or tenth.