When I first went to a 12 Step meeting I hated people, hated life, and hated God.

I only stayed for the coffee. I looked around and decided that these were a bunch of weird religious fanatics who smelled bad (I hadn't changed my underwear in about a year, so the smell was probably coming from me)

One of the attendees said "Don't give up before your miracle."

I gave up a million times, but for some inexplicable reason I kept going back to those meetings (thank god for the free coffee).

Then one day it clicked: I was the miracle. My butt in that cold uncomfortable chair was the miracle. My fellow attendees were the miracles, even the ones like me who kept relapsing.

"You're not perfect, but you are a miracle" my sponsor said.

I was set free from my addiction 25 years ago. I got my miracle, and I get it again every single day - even on the crappy days.

Thank You for reminding me of how lucky I am, and of how much I owe to the imperfect miracles sitting in those uncomfortable rooms.

Thank You for being a miracle, Bridget.

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I cannot tell you how much this was the exact thing I needed to accidentally stumble across this morning. Thank you, Bridget.

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I’ve been meaning to subscribe and being able to comment on this post was just the motivation I needed.

Happy birthday! Isn’t it incredible how we can move from hopelessness, despair, and loneliness few know to lives we never could have imagined!

Like so many, I “met” you on Rohan’s podcast, but as you talked, I recognized you as part of my tribe. Like you, AA and working the steps (many times too) saved my life, and it continues to this day. My first home was the Happy Trudgers, and we closed every meeting with that beautiful last sentence from a Vision for You.

I am ever grateful that you trudge, for your humor, insight, joyful wackiness, pointed sarcasm, forthrightness, and hopeful spirit are incredible gifts to me and all who meet you.

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So proud and thankful for you, Bridget!

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Congratulations, Bridget. 9 years!

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I truly feel great for all of the people in my life who have gained sobriety and defeated the very real demon of addiction in their lives, but it's not something I would ever do or a club I would join. I have never had a progression of preoccupation with alcohol, weed or any other drug or a need to change in the very moderate I was I use them and, like for many people, it's adopting a lifestyle of accountability that has made the difference in my life and made me able to achieve my dreams of writing for a living. My full support and understanding goes out to you, though. I'm one of the many drinkers who has seen the damage done when it's not just a fun thing to do.

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I drank for 40 years (my first beer was age 14) and while my disease didn't come all at once - it was more like a serpent slowly winding it's way around me so I never saw it coming until it was too late - in the end I was powerless over alcohol and my life had become unmanageable. At first I rejected all things AA, believing I was smarter and wiser than "those people" - until the inevitable relapses came and left me humbled - alcohol had finally beaten me into a state of reasonableness. That was 1,063 days ago (my 3 year anniversary is next month) and like you, Bridget, AA has changed everything about my life. I wouldn't trade my worst day sober for my best day drinking. Congrats on 9 years, and thank you for sharing your story here and on the "Factory Settings" podcasts, they're terrific! Take care of today, tomorrow will take care of itself.

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“Take what you can and leave the rest.” It’s one that resonates with me. I believe that every person can benefit from the principles and steps of AA. The Big Book. It truly is a guide for life. I especially like that phrase because there are a lot of people that might experience the promise and hope for a life free from the victim/martyr spiritual malady, but maybe they aren’t ready to give up the physical vice yet. Healing from the mental and spiritual vice, learning there is a better way to perceive our experience is still life changing. And, coupled with many years of therapy, has transformed me in ways I could never have imagined. The “me” before AA was a shell of a human playing an unconscious role. Now I feel like I know myself a little better each day, AND I like me. I did not comprehend what a “personal boundary” meant until I was 28 years old, sitting in an impromptu group session ran by a flummoxed counselor on the topic: Sharing Cigarettes: Boundary Violation and Group Consequences (no one could smoke). Sarah, a counselor, during my first week in high intensity inpatient residential treatment said something I’ll never forget. “When people first enter treatment their boundaries, if any, are….. shit.” “As a rule, a person doesn’t normally find themselves in treatment for having good healthy boundaries because it’s NOT having them that allows you to treat yourself like you have been. We make strict boundary rules and always enforce them consistently because we know setting them yourself does not seem possible. We do this FOR you as an act of love so you can finally start to understand what autonomy feels like while experiencing it in a safe place. This is a gift to you. Please take this gift.” I had had plenty of small situations arise in which the response was, “I can’t; just following the rules.” It was so liberating to have someone in charge looking out for me. I felt safe. I did not have to say yes when I meant no. The rules were there to protect me - they were training wheels on the bike of autonomy. The revelation of autonomous living and the truth that comes with with it, followed by personal accountability and integrity- the ability to see that life is happening for me, not to me. The joy and gratitude I feel for being responsible for myself, to have agency in my life and the ability to love others because I have learned to deeply love and respect myself. The concept of internal vs. external locus of control is sewn right into the words of the Serenity Prayer.

- A personal reflection 5 years in the making. Thanks for the space to share.

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I'm so happy you're here to live in that which was once but a dreamworld !

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