Finally, after 3-4 weeks of meetings where I referred to myself as an "alcoholic" readily, I had to ask...
So I raised my hand in the Friday nite Starlite group in Toledo, OH (the site of my first ever AA meeting and 1st homegroup by default) and I asked: "How do you know you're an alcoholic?" You see, I'd hoped that the answer would prove to me once and for all that I didn't belong here and could go back to doing what I had been doing: thinking of myself and having a good time and well, being fairly miserable as well. Well, like God's Grace often does when we reach out and grab it, the answer changed my life.
Roger says... " I am Roger, I am an alcoholic." (he's been gone now for some years, was one of those older long time sober guys...) "I think you should try some controlled drinking, son" he said to me in the meeting. I saw the eyes turn to me and I shrank. But then my disease said "wait, we can do that... easily. We could even win a bet on that, I bet!" And as if he had guessed what my disease was whispering in my ear, Roger said "yea, try some controlled drinking... go down to your favorite bar or club, or chair at home... drink 1 or 2 beers, maybe once a week or less... do this for a period of time, to make sure." And again my disease was like, "oh, hell yea man I can handle that, especially if it means I'm not an alcoholic like these poor folks. Once I show them, I can go back to dirnking like I like to, knowing I am good to go." So far I was listening more to my disease, feeling "better" with every passing moment. Roger takes a long pause, almost as if to let my disease really get me going, hook, line and sinker. (He had been sober a long time, and had a great sense of humor, having had this conversation with many a newcomer.) Roger said to me (and I will never forget this as long as I live, I can still plainly see him, I can still recall the feelings that overwhelmed me when he said it...)
He said "son, do this controlled drinking..." (my disease says... "yea, yea?" anxiously) "have just one or two drinks, and be satisfied..." (imagine a record scratching here...) My face flushed, the blood then drained out of my face and my disease stopped dead, had nothing to say. God Grace came upon me at that moment and I knew. My understading of my disease moved immediately from my head to my heart, the longest journey ever. I knew in my heart of hearts, there was no satisfaction. I couldn't even understand really what he meant when I thought about it. I sat there stunned, the whole room looking at me. My mind, my disease just kept going "and be satisfied? and be satisfied?" You see, Roger had helped me work my Step 1. I now knew without equivocation that I am alcoholic. For the first time in my life, I knew something about me that was undeniable. It frightened me and gave me peace all at the same time. I couldn't reply or say anything, I just sat there quietly, shocked.
I had my answer. I asked and he/He answered. Thank God He answered through old Roger. Thank God I asked. God's Grace is always around, it's everywhere but, WE have to grab it. We have to avail ourselves to it by asking, by being in the right place, by being willing to accept the answers we get, by helping others, by being honest with ourselves. Thank God I asked. My life has never been the same since that meeting many Friday's ago.
Now the work could begin.