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When I walked through the doors of the Bryan Independence Center, I had no clue what I was walking in to. I knew little to nothing about the Independence Center and very little about Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). The picture in my head was a bunch of old men sitting around smoking and drinking coffee in a small, poorly lit room complaining about not being able to drink alcohol anymore. I had never heard of an AA sponsor, let alone what a sponsor does. I was certain I was the only person drinking the way I drank. What I did know is that I needed help and the Independence Center was the only place I had heard of to get help.
My first days at the Independence Center were filled with anxiety. Where do I go? When do I go? What do I say? Where is that room? Thankfully my big buddy, Dan, knew the answers to those questions. Dan is the big, tall guy the same age as me. He was a great roommate. He, like me was in treatment for the first time and I followed him everywhere. Dan introduced me to the other clients and shared his story and experiences with me. I was starting to get into a routine when “the move” came. I was in the last group of clients at the old Independence Center and the first group of clients at the new/current Independence Center. I did not want to leave the old building, but within a few days I realized the new place was so much better. We had our own bathrooms and showers, what a huge improvement.
I had three different counselors during my stay at the Independence Center. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to share what was going on in my life with them. They were important in helping me to start building my sobriety foundation. The many who became my sponsor was a volunteer at the Independence Center. I’m so thankful that he agreed to be my sponsor when I asked him. It was at the Independence Center that Bob spent the first of what would become many hours sharing his experience, hope and wisdom with me. Bob also brought together a group of men that I now consider family. We were his sponsees and we still meet once a week. We refer to ourselves as “SOBS” (sponsees of Bob). I continue to attend Monday night aftercare since leaving the Independence Center. It’s a small way for me to give back and stay connected.
Today I share a couple of things with the current clients that were suggested to me in my days at the Independence Center, “make your bed every day”. It was the start of what is my daily routine. It is also a task accomplished to get my day started. “Keep your foot on the accelerator” is another. Let the momentum you’ve built at the Independence Center continue on as you learn to live a sober life. In a short period of time the Independence Center went from a place that I didn’t want to be, to a place I didn’t want to leave.