The 90s is when I did most of my drinking and using. I just thought Seattle was where it was, but I stopped in Portland 10 years later and I was still there. I never actually made it Seattle. What I found in Portland were people my age getting sober. I didn’t know that people my age got sober. I kind of thought I was the only one. I remember walking into the basement of the Portland Alano club and there were probably 150 alcoholics in there who were all between the ages of 15 and 25. I finally felt like I was home, I felt like you loved me, and you made me feel safe. Now I was finally home. To be real, the young people terrified me at the time. You know, my guy was stoked that they were there, but I realized that I had absolutely no tools to build relationships. I realized I never had any pure friends ever; friends that were not involved in using and drinking.
So I had to learn how to do that, and start all over. The people of Alcoholics Anonymous were there to hold my hand through it. With my sponsor at the time, I was voicing all of these resentments to her about AA. My sponsor was like, “Well, you have two choices. You can either check out, or you can jump in the middle of it and create the fellowship you crave. So what’s it going to be?” So I joined the key part of big committee and made some of the closest friends I have ever had. You know, the people in AA taught me how to balance a checkbook. They taught me how to negotiate contracts. They taught me how to fight with my friends and still be friends after a disagreement. They taught me that getting in a tiff doesn’t mean that I never talk to the person again. You know, it’s just a disagreement, it’s cool; we’re all human. We can have different opinions and ideas and still love each other anyway.
There was a period in my life like my late teens, and most of my life, I’ve actually really enjoyed traveling. I’ve traveled a lot, and when I was seventeen, I made my first trip to Russia. I fell hopelessly in love with the country of Russia. Don’t ask me why, I didn’t even want to go in the first place. I just kind of ended up there, and when I woke up in the morning, I realized I was in love with the place. So when I was twenty, I was like, “Why not move there?” At the time, I had been whining about it and not taking any action for a long time. I talked about how I wanted to get back and spend some time there. So I did. I picked up at 20 years old and I moved to Russia and I had saved up three thousand dollars, which seemed like so much money to me. And it actually lasted me about fourteen months. I went to Russia with my Big Book and some speaker tapes. That started another journey for me.
Note: Liz has an amazing story and is a gifted AA speaker. Her story outlines that despite being in another country, the hand of Alcoholics Anonymous is always there, ready to reach out and help the still suffering alcoholic. This is a great speaker tape for newcomers because Liz outlines her coming of age in the program and the actions she took that would transform her life.