When everything else has failed...
After I had returned to drinking in May of 1985, after being sober in A.A. for five months, I found it utterly impossible to get sober again. I tried everything. I was baffled why I could not just go back to attending A.A. meetings and get sober and stay sober! It was then, that the true meaning of the first Step made sense to me. "I was powerless over alcohol and could not manage to get sober and/or stay sober."
I would be sober when I left my home for the A.A. meeting, and by the time I got to the meeting -- I would be drunk. So, after about five months of trying to get sober by going to meetings -- I finally gave up.
I would sit alone in my apartment -- drinking and reading the Big Book, and feeling sorry for myself -- that I had been sober and could not get sober again.
While drinking and reading the Big Book (which I do not suggest for anyone!) -- I came across some ideas of some things that I thought I might be able to do -- so that I could at least stop feeling so guilty!
Below, I've included some of the page references from the book, that gave me the ideas that I tried, just in case you have tried everything else -- even A.A. -- like I had done -- and, you've been unable to stay sober.
Here is what I did:
I started showing up drunk at the A.A. Central Office, in Van Nuys, California -- sometime in the summer of 1986. I would go in and buy cases of Big Books -- and put them in the truck of my car, so that I could go pass them out to people who appeared to be as drunk as I was. (I suggest that you do this part different, than I did. See if you can get someone who is not drinking -- to drive you to the Central Office -- or else, you might get arrested for drinking and driving!)
If you try this -- you can do what I did, if they ask you "What's your name?" -- My answer was "I'm anonymous". And, when they asked, "Well, what's the name of your group, so that we can record the sale..." I replied "We're anonymous." And, when they asked me where my group met -- my answer was "We're anonymous, damn it! Is that a problem for you? Just sell me the damn Alcoholics Anonymous books!" -- And, it worked for me, just as easily as it will work for you.
Then, it didn't matter to me -- if I couldn't sit in an A.A. meeting sober. I stayed drunk and went out finding prospects who would take a book from me. (And, I did start to feel a little less useless and guilty... but, not much less).
My general approach was usually something like "Hey buddy? Got a minute? You kind of remind me of myself, and if you're like me -- you may be interested in getting sober. If you want to get sober -- take this book and read it, and then go to an A.A. meeting, get a sponsor, and do the stuff in the book -- and, whatever you do -- if you get sober -- don't start drinking again, or... you'll definitely end up like me! I was sober once in A.A. and now I can't get sober again. You only get one shot at it -- and if you screw up and start drinking again -- you'll be like me, and you won't be able to get sober."
Once in a while -- I was able to find someone who was desparate enough to take a book from me. I don't know if they read it or not -- but, I had hoped that they would read it and get sober, so that they could enjoy what I would never have another chance to enjoy -- which was sobriety.
I did that for a couple of months. I don't remember how many times I did it because I was usually, kind of drunk when I was doing it.
Anyway -- On November 14th, 1986 -- for some unknown (to me) reason I stumbled into a situation where I got a second chance at sobriety. I got on my knees (in broad daylight!) in the parking lot of a carwash -- and began begging and praying that, whoever the God was that was helping drunks to be sober in A.A. would help me.
To keep this story short -- I'll just end it with this. I haven't had a drink since that day, on November 14th, 1986. And, I believe -- that if I got a second chance at it -- you can, too!
I also believe -- that probably -- the reason that I've been able to stay sober -- is because I've made it a part of my life to keep doing, daily, what those page references below refer to -- in addition, to getting a sponsor, going to meetings, reading the book, praying and taking the 12 Steps.
-- Here are the page references that I mentioned above --
"It is important for him to realize that your attempt to pass this on to him plays a vital part in your own recovery."
--Alcoholics Anonymous, Working with others - page 94
"In late 1934 I attended a patient who, though he had been a competent businessman of good earning capacity, was an alcoholic of a type I had come to regard as hopeless.
In the course of his third treatment he acquired certain ideas concerning a possible means of recovery. As part of his rehabilitation he commenced to present his conceptions to other alcoholics, impressing upon them that they must do likewise with still others. This has become the basis of a rapidly growing fellowship of these men and their families."
--Alcoholics Anonymous, Dr.'s Opinion, page xviii
"Finally he shook his head saying, â€œSomething has happened to you I donâ€™t understand. But you had better hang on to it. Anything is better than the way you were.â€