Giving it away so I can keep it.


Purty, ain't they?


It’s what we say about sobriety in the Alcoholics Anonymous program: “You’ve got to give it away to keep it.”

Last month, as I was nearing my one-year anniversary of being sober, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to give away my sobriety. That is, I was able to share my strength, hope and experience with someone who suspected she might be an alcoholic.

In addition to experiencing some drinking-related trouble, T. has an alcoholic parent, and had been following my blog from the start. It wasn’t until recently, though, that she began to ask questions about the AA program, mostly regarding what I got out of it and how difficult (or not) it had been to give up drinking.

I answered her questions as best I could, resisting the urge to say, “Yes, from everything you’ve told me about your drinking habits and the events resulting from your drinking, I’d say you are an alcoholic. Let’s get you to an AA meeting, stat!”

Instead, I just offered up tales of my drinking life, how I came to my decision to get into AA, and my experience with sobriety thus far.

Eventually, T. decided that she wanted what I had.

I brought her to her first AA meeting, which just happened to be one of the two during which I picked up a chip commemorating my first year of sobriety. Needless to say, I was thrilled to be the recipient of this gift  —  which I was at that very moment giving away.

I’m happy to report that T. has embraced AA wholeheartedly, exploring all the meetings available in our town, reading the Big Book and 12&12 I gave her (as well as some other helpful AA-related literature), even seeking out a sponsor.

Seeing her discover the joy of sobriety and being able to give her some guidance along the way just reinforces my commitment to my own sobriety. To me, that is a beautiful thing — and a gift I’m determined to keep.

7 Responses to “Giving it away so I can keep it.”

  1. ahhhhh 🙂 Good for you.
    Lovely story. Thanks for sharing it. 🙂 You must feel !!! GREAT after that 🙂

  2. And that’s how it works! We were once useless drunks at that jumping off point, and with God’s guidance we realize we have a purpose in this life. It just keeps getting better! Congratulations on one year of sobriety! Thanks for sharing your E,S & H.

  3. Being someone’s guardian angel must feel pretty good. Being lifted up by someone you’ve always admired feels pretty good, too.


  4. 4 Mary W

    And T. kept you sober, right? That is the whole point of the program. I also know that I have feet of clay and that even with double digit sobriety, I still have much to learn. I try to impart what my message is (not the mess!!) in meetings. I am here to stay sober, one day at a time. If I am fortunate enough to help someone out, that is a blessing from my Higher Power. This is a We program, according to one of my sponsors. Without you, I would still be drunk, or most likely dead. The oldtimers learn from the newcomers. We haven’t been drinking for years and we want to be sure that alcohol still doesn’t work.

    Keep sharing your experience, strength and hope to all who suffer from our maladay.

  5. Congratulations… on both counts!

    Regards- TDA

  6. God at work, that is what AA is all about, BTW congradulation to you getting your 1 year chip (cake) I myselfk have 145 days today, I’m have embraced this program but it has taken me since March of 2009 to get these amazing 145 days I have now, I know that T. is greatful and she is in the process of saving her own life thats great, I have not yet had the pleasure of giving this away but I will be someday.

    The way you present the program to her was so beaautiful and gracious, that the way this program changes peoples lives.

    GOD BLESS and keep sharing

  7. 7 ashrobin

    i’m so proud of you. i haven’t seen or spoken with you in awhile but am grateful to know that somewhere in our city, in our rooms, you are there sharing your experience, strength and hope!

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