Do not be discouraged: an essay

“Many of us exclaimed, ‘What an order, I can’t go through with it.’ Do not be discouraged.” Alcoholics Anonymous page 60.

Here I sit at 11:20 pm, and reflect on those words. Having re-read through the homework lists, the step lists, and all the work involved in finding and maintaining recovery, I look back to my disease as it was when I was actively drinking.

My day would begin with crawling from the bed, strewn with my own vomit, urine, and feces and I would crawl to the bathroom. I would either vomit until there was nothing left, or dry heave over a bucket while I sat on the stool. My apartment was filled with filth. I’d go to my desk and swallow the first of 23 psychiatric pills of the day, and wash it down with either beer or a shot of whiskey. I’d crawl back to bed and go back to sleep for the next few hours until I had to get up and do it again. I slept the clock around, usually 20 hours a day, and spent more time wasted than sober.

During the first few days and months of AA meetings, I would go to a meeting, and leave anytime anyone mentioned God. I hated God. God had done this to me, I thought, and life was pure hell. I had constant flashbacks of the beatings I’d received, the time I had been raped, and of being molested as a child. Nothing helped.

I talked baby talk, or stuttered most of the time. I lost the ability to read and write.

I hated life, and I longed to die.

Eventually, I found a sponsor willing to work with a sick bastard like me. I was not worthy, and I was worthless. 

Eventually, after going to meetings, and working the steps a bit, I stopped cutting my own flesh. After 13 months of hell, I stopped drinking, and got off of all the psychiatric medications.

The first time I did steps 6 and 7, I was in a full-fledged panic attack. 

I survived the first time I worked the twelve steps, and went on to work them again. 

“Do not be discouraged.” 

For me, it is much easier to work the program of action outlined in the book Alcoholics Anonymous than it ever was to keep drinking and taking pills. 

This, for me, no matter how much homework it is, no matter how many hours a day the work takes me, is infinitely better than slowly dying but not dying.

Today, God gives me the strength to stay clean and sober. Today, God helps me get through the pain, one minute at a time.

I am grateful, for everything the Lord has handed me.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at


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