Within days of my last drink, I thumbed through the Yellow Pages and found a female shrink, whose name seemed kind and whose office was within walking distance. I made an appointment and spent the next three years seeing her once or twice a week.

In order for her to help me, she insisted that I attend an AA meeting regularly (which I didn’t), and work through the steps. Although my father was and still is an alcoholic, I had never heard of the steps, and had no idea what the 12 Steps were about. When I got my hands on the Big Book, I discovered that I had quite a lot of work to do.

Step 1 is an admission of one’s powerlessness over alcohol and an admission that one’s life was unmanageable. I never admitted this and still have difficulty fully admitting this. Without Step 1, you can’t move on, and I guess I never did. My life was somehow manageable – I had a job, a business, a place to live and a little money in the bank. How bad could I be?

Step 2 is an admission of there being a “higher power.” After treading very lightly on Step 1, Step 2 was even more difficult. Admitting there was a higher power implied that I was inferior to something, someone. It also meant admitting that there is a God or some dude upstairs running the show. I didn’t grow up religious, and wasn’t going to start now. After all, if there was a God, why had he been ignoring me all this time, why was there all this sorrow in the world?

Step 3 requires a decision be made to turn our will and lives over to the above mentioned higher power. Oh boy! If I couldn’t admit he/she/it was even in existence, how could I turn my life over to this entity? God or whoever was in charge had left me high and dry in the past, why would I entrust him with everything? Was I crazy?

As I read through these steps, I knew that AA was not going to be for me. I had no desire to admit my alcoholism, had no belief in a higher power, and no plan on giving up my will and life to a non-existent God. Since the remaining steps are based on the first three, AA would not be a part of my sobriety.