My Experience...George D.

I honestly don’t remember my first drink.

I grew up surrounded by the Puerto Rican side of my family and the coquito (spiked eggnog) flowed at family gatherings. They always made sure the kids had some to quiet us down. As a child, I always felt like I was missing out on something, as if there were some secret that everyone knew about—except me. I hated going to bed because I just knew something great was going to occur in my absence. 

I had my first drunk at age 14. It gave me that warm feeling inside; my shoulders relaxed and that empty suspicious feeling I had throughout my childhood melted away. I became relaxed and my sense of humor helped me be part of any group I chose.

By the time I was in my late twenties, stories of my antics in the discos, nightclubs, and after hours spots were getting back to my family. As a result, they tried to make me act more responsibly. New York was obviously getting too small, so, I moved to California.

My drinking really took off in San Francisco. After seven years there, I was drinking heavier than I had in the past, was getting lonely, and felt estranged from my family. My sister was expecting a baby and my Mom was getting up there in years so I thought it was the perfect time to return to New York and get my life back together. At first it was OK: I got a new job and was trying to control my drinking. After three months, my “trial period” at work was over and I began to drink more than ever. My life became smaller and smaller until it was a dull routine of coming to in the morning, getting drunk, going to work, having a “few” at lunchtime, and then going home and drinking myself to sleep.

After a few years of this routine, I arrived at the end of my emotional rope. I had done some shameful and demoralizing things over the years and I just snapped. One night I sat down on my couch and started sobbing. I was so desperate I called out to God to please help me. I cried myself to sleep that night and went to my first AA meeting the next day. 

To say I was terrified of walking into that first AA meeting is an understatement. When someone “suggested” I go to 90 meetings in 90 days I was overwhelmed. It felt like work at first but; slowly, I began to enjoy the meetings and the people. My sponsor took me through the Big Book and had me go through the 12 Steps. I was directed into service and it was also suggested I get involved in the fellowship. That happened 22 years ago and although I have gone through some hard times in sobriety, I never had a reason to go back out and drink again. For this, I thank the God of my understanding and the fellowship—both of which I found in AA.

AA Fun Facts

Did you know that AA had its beginnings in 1935 in Akron, Ohio as the outcome of a meeting between Bill W., a New York stockbroker and Dr. Bob S., an Akron surgeon?

Have you read today's Daily Reflection?

AA has a presence in 170+ countries!

As a member of Alcoholics Anonymous, you are among 2,000,000 people worldwide in this fellowship.

The United States has 60,698 groups comprised of 1,262,542 members. (Source: -- January 1, 2016)

The Big Book, originally published in 1939 by founders Bill & Bob, is now in its fourth edition is and is translated into 67 languages.

Most importantly, in AA you are never alone.


Story from an Old Timer...Sabra L.

I started drinking at age 11…

I started drinking at age 11 and knew about AA at the age of 8 when we used to prop my Grandma up in the corner in a Parkchester meeting. Knew I had a drinking problem by the age of 13, but always figured those were the cards dealt to me and my life would suck forever. Booze made it bearable for me. Never could understand how AA people could ever give up their lives to a bunch of Bible Thumpers, hiding in church basements, praying to God, and basically dying from a boring life.

I lived across the street from the old Morris Park meeting and used to watch you guys with fascination because you looked happy and comfortable in your own skin. As my drinking progressed, I longed for that—I  hated the body I lived in and particularly the mind that I was cursed with. Each year I drank, the more my mind went into darkness…until I could no longer deal with living. I had been to AA before; but, I wasn't ready yet.  In 1987 however, I had a choice. I hit bottom, and I knew if I continued this way I was taking myself out, and AA came into my mind. You know once you get a taste of AA—EVEN a short stint—it sticks with ya. 

I decided to give the meetings a chance. I had the gift of desperation and was now willing to “wither away in church basements” and drink coffee. I was 24 years old. I thought my life was over: no friends, no love, no life. I was a shell, dark and empty with absolutely no hope. Figured God left me and hated me. The first thing I heard that stuck with me was Keep Coming Back, and I hung onto that. I thought because I had been there before, that I would be denied admission and a woman looked at me and said, "I remember you; I prayed for you to come back." I felt like lightning struck me. I was never welcomed back anywhere. No one ever prayed for me. That woman saved my life that day. I believed her and hung onto it. 

The moral of the story is that no matter what you go through in your sobriety—no matter how bleak it seems or how wondrously happy it becomes—keep coming back. I have seen members go through death, birth, good times, divorce, sickness, and tragedy who kept coming. That is a powerful thing to see and feel. My good friend Mary O. (God rest her soul) said to me one day, "Sabra, the one thing I love about you is that no matter what you have gone through in your life, you just kept coming back."  That is the one thing I have done right in my 30 years of sobriety. That is our first step. Stepping into a meeting is admitting we are powerless over alcohol and that our lives are unmanageable.

May God continue to bless us and keep us.