Q: I am completely new. I am going to AA meetings, but I find my pain so overwhelming. What do I do?
1) Go to every meeting you can possibly make. Forget this 90-meetings-in-ninety-days stuff - if you can make three meetings a day, do it. Going to meetings is the most important thing you can do, after not drinking of course.
2) Actually sit in the meeting. Do not fall into the habit of hanging out with the folks who are technically at a meeting, but not really (they're outside smoking, etc.) I refer to this area of my group as Relapse Row for a reason.
3) Stay physically and mentally busy. If you have a job, go the extra mile at work. Clean your house like the Prize Patrol will be there any moment with cameras. Return phone calls immediately (unless they're from the dealer). Call people who are supportive of you. In other words, do whatever it is that keeps you from drinking. If you're sitting around with nothing to do, go to a meeting or get busy.
4) Get a Big Book and read it. Most groups sell them. Our public library has them to check out. If you don't have the money, ask one of the women at your group if you can borrow hers. Then read it.
5) Get a sponsor. This early in recovery, this is simply someone you feel you can call and honestly say, "Okay, I want a drink - what do I do?" Any sponsor worth having will require you to call her every day. Don't overcomplicate this by trying to find the "perfect" person - you're not marrying this person, you're just calling them and asking them how to do this thing.
6) Cut yourself some slack in 0ther areas. We are not drinking - that is the goal. This is not time to quit smoking or start a diet of ground walnut shells and yak milk. In fact, I take newcomers for ice cream after meetings on a regular basis. This is because alcohol is sugar (I'll spare you the chemistry, just trust me, it is), and by suddenly not drinking, your body is jonesing for some sugar.
7) Remember that you are only doing this TODAY. One day at a time - if you're really miserable, promise yourself you'll get drunk as Ted Kennedy tomorrow, but today you're sticking it out.
It doesn't seem like it right now dear, but you're in for the greatest experience of your life if you're willing to go to any lengths to get it.
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