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Helena Artmann has a bachelor degree in Communications with a vast experience in PR and the online world. Before moving to Canada in 2005, Helena published a variety of articles in Brazilian magazines and websites, mostly about travel, adventure, outdoor, gear, environment and her favourite activities, mountaineer and hot air ballooning. This is her website: http://artmanncommunications.com

Alcoholics Anonymous Changed my Life Forever

Today I complete my 24th year sober. More than 2/3 of my life I’ve been sober now. In this day, 24 years ago, when I was just 21 years old, I entered an Alcoholics Anonymous room and said that I was not going to drink that day, promising to come back the next day. ‘Just for today’. I did it. And I did it again and again. ‘One day at a time’. It was much easier than saying that I was not going to drink the next 24 years.

Slowly, my circle of friends changed, I started climbing and going to bed early to wake up at dawn. Spend the days in the mountains were the description of a perfect day for me and I would come home exhausted and happy from all the effort to reach a summit or simply climb any route. I deepen my involvement with my climbing club but kept attending AA meetings for the next two years or more.

More than a tool to stop drinking, AA offers tools to a better life. The 12 Steps were created to serve AA’s members, but it is so complete and so powerful that has been used for any kind of compulsion and addiction. Published in 1939, it is still current and incredibly simple (change alcohol to any other word and you will see that it works perfectly!):

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
  13. Alcohol and other compulsions had been removed from my life and I can spot the usage of alcohol to cook or in a medicine very fast. It is a no-no for me, and I am happy with that. I remember everything I did the day or night before and I am not embarrassed by my attitudes anymore.

My process in AA followed a process that I now know so well, but I do believe I annoyed my family when, too young, I was just discovering my way to go through life: read. And talk. Read as much as I could about the subject and talk exhaustively about it. Funny enough, this is the first time I come public to talk about it… But will not be the last.

The process was not always peaceful but I made sure to go through all that was suggested. Bit by bit, I removed the remorse and the embarrassment and let the healing took place. I believe healing is a process that will never end and I am still here trying to heal a bunch of wounds from previous lives.

As I write this, my life is finally in a peaceful path after eight years or so of a lot of stress. I was just moving on, as I didn’t know better, I guess. I finally separated from my partner and having the house for myself again is a wonderful feeling. My son is happier and our relationship is blooming. I am happy. And a nice sign of this is that I am dancing and singing around the house again!

When was the last time you did it?

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8 Comments on “Alcoholics Anonymous Changed my Life Forever”

  1. Blandina September 25, 2014 at 9:28 am #

    Muito bom. Gostei. Corajoso.

  2. blanda September 25, 2014 at 9:33 am #

    Você olha os comentários de seus posts? Costumo fazer.

  3. Meghan J. Ward September 25, 2014 at 10:06 am #

    Courage, courage, courage. This post is just the beginning, Helena. Thanks for sharing.

    • Helena Artmann September 25, 2014 at 12:07 pm #

      Thanks, Meghan… It was about time, eh? 🙂 Thanks for reading…

      • Meghan J. Ward September 25, 2014 at 12:16 pm #

        It all came in the right time. 🙂

  4. ericschaechter January 12, 2015 at 4:33 am #

    You, my friend, are a fantastic human being! I can only imagine how much stronger our friendship would be if we had ever lived in the same city… I miss you always! 🙂

    • Helena Artmann February 18, 2015 at 4:00 pm #

      Thank you so much, my dear friend! And sorry for such a late reply! I simply loved your comment… I miss you too. Much love to you! xoxo

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