You Can Do It – One Day at a Time
You have just made what is possibly the most important decision of your life: you’ve taken Step One, and said to yourself, “Yes, I’m powerless over alcohol. My life is unmanageable. I can’t stop drinking, and I want help.” In order to stop drinking, and stay stopped, there are a few simple principles that you will need to apply to your life: AA’s program of recovery, as outlined in our Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. They can work as effectively for you as they have worked for countless others. Here are some additional suggestions, which we feel can be helpful to you on your path to recovery:
Go to Meetings
All over the Memphis area, there are meetings: 365 days a year, morning, noon and night. The schedule for these meetings may be found in our meeting directory, available at every group or from our office, or on this web site. Take in as many meetings as you can; many long-sober AA’s suggest jump-starting your program by attending as many AA meetings as possible.
Have a Home Group, and Get Involved
For most of us, one particular AA group has become a unique haven for our sobriety, a place where we have many friends, where we can feel particularly safe in sharing exactly what’s going on with us today. This special place is known throughout the AA fellowship as the Home Group.
In the Greater Memphis area, there are a number of large AA groups that meet several times each day, and there are smaller groups that meet from once to five times per week. You are encouraged to visit groups of different types before deciding where you feel most at home. Ultimately, involvement at the group level will be more important to you than the size of the group or how often it meets. Our AA experience tells us that giving away what we have been so freely given is fundamental to our continued sobriety, and we can always find many varied ways to be of service in our home groups.
Get a Sponsor
A few members may tell you that they stay sober without the aid of a sponsor, and having one is indeed not a requirement. However, our AA experience tells us that you will have a much better chance with a sponsor than without one. In fact, you will probably find that communicating with your sponsor is a vital part of your participation in the AA program.
Your sponsor will listen to you and make suggestions based on his or her experience. However, they will not serve as a financial advisor, marriage counselor or psychologist. Sponsors are but experienced guides to the AA program of recovery: the Twelve Steps. Some AA groups will help you find a temporary sponsor; if you are not certain about your group’s practices regarding sponsorship, simply ask the chairperson after a meeting.
Live One Day at a Time
AA is a “one day at a time” way of living. We try to break life into small pieces that we can handle. We stay sober one day at a time, or when necessary, one hour at a time. We do our jobs one task at a time. We solve our problems one problem at a time; we clean up our past one mess at a time.
“The 24 hour program” is a phrase used to describe a basic A.A. approach to the problem of staying sober. AA’s never swear off alcohol for life, never take pledges committing themselves not to take a drink “tomorrow”. By the time they turned to A.A. for help, they had discovered that, no matter how sincere they may have been in promising themselves to abstain from alcohol “in the future”, somehow they forgot the pledge and got drunk. The compulsion to drink proved more powerful than the best intentions not to drink. The A.A. member recognizes that the biggest problem is to stay sober now! The current 24 hours is the only period the A.A. can do anything about as far as drinking is concerned. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow never comes. “But today” the A.A. says, “today, I will not take a drink. I may be tempted to take a drink tomorrow – and perhaps I will. but tomorrow is something to worry about when it comes. My big problem is not to take a drink during this 24 hours.” From the pamphlet “44 Questions”
It is said that the average practicing alcoholic affects the lives of at least five other people. Many of these are family members, and there are ways that you can share your recovery with them.
OPEN MEETINGS: Most AA groups have a varied program of open and closed meetings. Closed meetings are for alcoholics, but family members may go along to open meetings with the AA member. Many weekend speaker meetings are open meetings. We have indicated the meeting type on our group meeting schedules.
AA CONFERENCES: Weekend conferences are held throughout the year in various locations; these offer activities for both AA members and their families. Often, Al-Anon and Alateen meetings are held at these conferences as well. Information about these events may be found on group bulletin boards, our Intergroup newsletter, our Event Calendar or AA’s national magazine, The Grapevine.
The Al-Anon Family Groups, designed for members of the alcoholic family, hold meetings just as AA groups do. Al-Anon is a separate organization which uses AA’s Twelve Steps to effect the recovery of non-alcoholic family members. In the Memphis area, a typical AA group cooperates with Al-Anon by sub-leasing space to an Al-Anon group which holds its meetings “next door” to the AA meetings. For more information you may call the Memphis Al-Anon Central Office at (901) 323-0321.
When You Travel
You will find that AA is in almost every city and town in the United States and Canada, as well as most urban areas throughout the world.
Directories of meetings in the US, Canada and the rest of the world are available at your Memphis Intergroup office. Furthermore, frequently updated information about meetings in other localities may be obtained through links to independently operated websites. Note the links to AA World Headquarters and other Intergroups everywhere here on our website.
Your New Beginning
You’ve made a new beginning. If you are like most of us, there may be times that you feel terribly frightened and lonely. If you are willing to use the tools that AA offers, you will never have to be alone again. You are among people who have been where you’ve been, felt what you’ve felt, thought what you’ve thought. Use those phone numbers and email addresses you’ve been given and join us on the path to recovery from our common problem – alcoholism. We can do together what we can’t do by ourselves.