I am writing this after watching another failed attempt of trying to stay sober on AA fellowship alone. It is quite common for newcomers to Alcoholics Anonymous to get a bit high on life. It is probably a very good thing, too. They are feeling much better physically, they have some hope for the first time in a many years and are attending many AA functions and staying away from alcohol. The problem arises when this is all they are doing to stay sober - they are not working through the 12 Steps with a sponsor.

AA has many functions, conventions, dances and social outings. These are all great activities to enjoy and allow people (newcomers especially) to make new friends and enjoy life while sober. For the newcomer, who is just learning how to live life without it revolving around alcohol, these activities are a lifesaver. In addition to these activities, the newcomer needs to be attending meetings, doing service work and working with a sponsor on the Twelve Steps. These steps change something deep inside an alcoholic and allow them to live life without the crutch of alcohol. Without this change brought about by working the steps, a newcomer can only stay sober for a short period of time.

This is only my opinion, but I believe that most alcoholics (including myself!) become accustomed to avoiding painful or uncomfortable situations. Working the Twelve Steps of AA can be both painful and uncomfortable. This is quite possibly the reason many newcomers do not make it through these necessary actions.

Most alcoholics voluntarily walking into the doors of AA can see that they are powerless over alcohol and that their lives have become unmanageable - the First Step. This may not be true if they have been forced by family, the legal system or a treatment center. They may not be ready to admit it yet, but at least they learn where the solution lies so they know where to go when they are ready to take this first step.

The Fourth Step - "Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves." is an act of going through your life and looking at your motives, behavior and people that you have harmed. This step is certainly no fun, but absolutely necessary for long term sobriety. Newcomers that may not want to face up to what they have done in the past, may be scared off by this - until they decide they want lasting sobriety.

The Ninth Step - "Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do
so would injure them or others." involves the recovering alcoholic reviewing their Fourth Step and deciding upon and making amends to those they have harmed. This is another step that may scare newcomers away from working the steps.

All I can say to any newcomers out there, if you are looking ahead at the steps and having second thoughts - just take it one day at a time. When you get to that point in your sobriety you will be able to handle it. These steps to sobriety may not always be comfortable, but are far less painful than the continuation of your old way of life. Also, do not forget what brought you here and the promises of AA, they do come true - ask any old timer.