Sober since October 10, 1978
Jessica’s father sobered up in 1959, three years after her mother read a Saturday Evening Post article about alcoholism and started attending Al-Anon. Her mother’s commitment to Al-Anon eventually motivated her father, “Pop”, to seek sobriety through Alcoholics Anonymous.
Pop discovered The Men’s Center early in his sobriety and led a weekly AA meeting the rest of his life. Over the years, Pop was instrumental in The Men’s Center organization, serving on its board, organizing the first May Fest fundraiser, and guiding the Board in strategic real estate purchases. Like all recovering alcoholics, he needed a place to belong, and The Men’s Center was that place.
By the time Jessica reached puberty, she was living in a home out of the Big Book chapter “The Family Afterward.” Despite growing up in a home where AA was part of daily life, Jessica and her five siblings all developed addictions. Jessica had a drinking problem that almost killed her by age 28. A teacher by training, she couldn’t keep a job. She was drinking until she hallucinated, close to homeless, and suicidal.
Fear was her turning point. Two years before she entered recovery, her suicidal thoughts landed her in lockup, where she finally understood the words, “If you keep drinking, you are going to die.” For the next two years, she fought to fix things herself. She tried psychotherapy but resisted the AA approach, not interested in turning her life over to a higher power. Scotch and gin kept winning the battle.
The day she finally attended an AA meeting was her moment of grace. She memorized the words to “Just for Today,” taking them on for her mantra. She worked through her “Why Me” attitude, eventually accepting that the alcoholic disease could happen to anyone, and it had happened to her. She found she had to quit fighting and surrender to win.
When Jessica returned to Houston in 1980, she began attending Pop’s meeting. After Pop died, Jessica became the meeting leader. Today she still shares leadership of his meeting.
She likes the early AA atmosphere of The Men’s Center, the classic style she experienced during her early recovery years. This was Pop’s place to go and now it is hers.
By the time Pop died in 1992, all of his children were in recovery.
Although our stories are true, names and photos have been changed to preserve anonymity.