Two and a half years ago today, I became willing to get help for my downhill spiral into alcoholism. On my initial day at Tallgrass, I was introduced to the first of many volunteers. Throughout my thirty day stay, each day I watched a steady flow of people willing to take their time to tell me how different and wonderful my life could be without alcohol. In the eyes of each volunteer, I saw a light. It showed that they had truly found happiness and peace through AA. They were all very excited to share their own experiences, strength and hope, which made me want what they had. My mentor was one of the most important volunteer. She spent at least three days per week with me to go through the Alcoholics Anonymous big book and answered all of my endless questions. I firmly believe that the one on one attention allowed me to regain my spirituality. I developed a relationship with a God of my understanding. Listening to the stories of all the volunteers made me want to share my experiences in meetings.
Eventually, I was able to become a mentor at Tallgrass. When I was assigned to my first guest to mentor, I was quite nervous! However, I thought back to my mentor and I prayed for guidance. Once I started going through the book with someone, it all fell into place. It is so rewarding to meet a new guest, even though it is difficult to see them when they first arrive because they are usually sick and not exactly thrilled to be in treatment. Slowly, I see them get better. Once they start eating and sleeping regularly, it is as if they have awoken from a long and terrible dream. Then they begin to actually WANT to feel better and want to learn more and ask many more questions. It is so rewarding to watch each one recover. The guest and I work the steps together, and with the help of volunteers like me, guests are able to work the steps at their own pace. For me, mentoring is my way of giving back what was so freely given to me. To keep it, I really do have to give it away. Each guest reminds me of the Hell I endured during my drinking days. It also reminds me that there IS a solution. As alcoholics, the only thing we have to do to stay sober is to be willing to believe in a higher power, work the steps, and help other alcoholics.