I am very grateful for the Third Tradition as it allowed me to claim a seat at the tables of A.A., until such a time as I could come to an acceptance of myself as an alcoholic. I lived in a state of denial for so long that I was repeatedly convincing myself that I was not an alcoholic, and all the time my very life and behaviors screamed of my disease. It was apparent to everyone around me – except me. When I heard another member talk about what happened to them when they drank I came to an understanding of my disease that I had not attained before. I did not have to have DUI’s, I did not have to be a daily drinker, I did not have to consume huge amounts of alcohol, I did not have to lose everything in my life for this realization to finally hit me. I just needed to keep coming back and keep claiming my seat at the tables. I just needed to listen to others, to hear the readings and the quotes others gave of words they found in the Big Book. There was no requirement for membership, it was up to me to claim my disease or to continue in the misery of denial that had defined my life.

I go to meetings in support of my recovery and the recovery of others around the tables. I go to hear others talk about how their lives have changed and how they are working the Steps in their daily lives. I go to give support to others, I go to feel the warmth and love of others who, like me, are seeking a new way of living. I am a member when I say I am a member. It’s just that simple, and that straightforward. I see people come and I see people go. I pray that they stay around long enough to experience the true miracle of sobriety. Recovery happens – but it doesn’t happen overnight, it takes time. Time for my head to clear, time for the words to begin to make sense, time for acceptance – that others are sincere in their desire to be of service to me and others. A.A. is a “we” program, as it takes more than just myself to get and to stay sober. True tolerance of others is a blessing for both the other person and for me. When I am tolerant I learn to care about myself and others – when others are tolerant of me, I learn tolerance of others. I accept myself as an alcoholic and am grateful that I finally came to that acceptance and understanding. My life has been on an upward path since my feet crossed the doorway of A.A., that is my reality today. I shall be forever grateful for our code of “love and tolerance.”