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Jump-Start: Recovery in the Fast Lane continues...

...made the difference. They gave me something I had been searching for and needed all my life, a path to follow in discovering who I was and a way to successfully operate in the world. Not only did they provide me with the tools to grow emotionally, they showed me the importance of having a spiritual life and what spirituality is all about.

Through working the Twelve Steps, I also found God. Of course, God wasn't lost. I was.

Since their creation more than 50 years ago, the Twelve Steps have been used by people from differing economic, social and educational backgrounds. Although first designed as a process through which alcoholics could find and maintain sobriety, the Twelve Steps have reached a larger audience, one that includes family members and friends of chemically dependent people as well as those whose lives have been little touched directly by alcoholism and drug abuse.

The Steps have come to be accepted as a way people can free themselves from obsessive/compulsive behavior, whether it be manifested through an addiction to food, people, substances, work or a philosophy of life that is detrimental to the health and happiness of the individual imprisoned within its confines.

Those of us for whom the Steps were a vital link in recovery, were hoping in the mid-1980s to find a national organization forming that used the Twelve Steps and also allowed freedom in selecting materials and literature covered in meetings. If one formed then, we were unaware of it.

Yes, the 1980s saw more ACA groups forming across the country. Some were safer than others. In some, people experienced healing. In others, problems arose. ACA appeared not to be able to "get its act together."

I wondered if the answer lay in our desire to control and in our rebellion against anything that smacked of parental control. The joke then was that you could ask two ACA's where they wanted to eat for dinner and they might still be deciding hours, maybe weeks later. Whatever the reason, ACA seemed split between independent ACA groups and Al-Anon-based ACOA groups.

My life required that I turn my attention to the seniors in my family, moving me out of the active arena of recovery for a period of time. Now, my life has changed again. Recently, I looked on the Web for organizations designed for Adult Children of Alcoholics and found a listing for Adult Children of Alcoholics World Service as well as other resources, including Dr. Janet Woititz's ACOA Resources site.

Dr. Woititz presented a workshop on intimacy at the First Annual Conference for Children of Alcoholics, sponsored by the NACOA (National Association for Children of Alcoholics). These discoveries made me feel as if I had come home again and reminded me of the life-changing impact of ACA in my life.

Perhaps I can pass that on to someone else. That is the purpose of this site, which includes Beth's story, a true story and a tragedy that might not have happened had alcoholism not been in the equation, and jump-starts to recovery, the first two chapters, unabridged, of Jump Start 40: A Survivor's Guide, Recovery in the Fast Lane.

If you would like to see your personal, true story on this Web site (under 1,500 words, please), snail mail it to Sweet Mischief's Press, P.O. Box 11392, Midland, Texas 79702. Include a way you can be contacted.We must verify your story and ensure that we have it correctly transcribed before we place it on the Web site. Your name will remain anonymous at your request.

We have avoided listing material that can be found on other Web sites. With that in mind, we are interested in your comments on this Web site, in particular, was it helpful? what would make it more effective?

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