I am Jerry Banfield and I am an alcoholic. This is something I say every day at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. And in this video, I will explain to you a lot more about why I do that and how it might help you.
Why do I go to Alcoholics Anonymous every day?
It’s because five years ago, I could not stop drinking, even if I wanted to.
I prayed desperately, after 11 years of alcoholic drinking I estimate an equivalent of 20 beers or 20 shots of liquor every week, for 11 years. Now some weeks I tried to stay sober and didn’t drink at all other weeks, I drank 40+ in one week, on average for 11 years, I drank probably about 20 shots, beers a week.
Often these would be binge drinking sessions, these would be I’d have eight beers and a half handle of vodka within a 12 to 18 hour period, pass out have a horrible hangover, the next day, sober up, stay sober a day or so and then have another vendor like that.
Other times I’d have two to eight drinks a day and then get drunk once a week.
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I go to Alcoholics Anonymous because it helps me enjoy my life sober.
It helps me see that I don’t have to get a DUI, I am grateful I’ve never been arrested. I’ve never gotten a DUI, I have lost a relationship, I have lost a job from my drinking. But there’s lots of consequences I have not experienced from my drinking and going to AA every day helps me to see that if I keep drinking, I’ll be lucky to get just a few consequences more likely I’ll lose my whole life and completely go down the drain and end up coming up to God to be like, -Man, I messed that up, didnt I? You gave me this whole world and I threw it away for a bottle.
I go to AA every day to have a wonderful, happy, healthy, sober life. Because life is better, being sober all the time, and having systems and support where you can get through it.
I thought sobriety was what it felt like after the hangover cleared up the first day not drinking, I thought being sober the rest of my life would feel like that and I knew that that wasn’t sustainable but five years ago, I didn’t know what else to do. Because I’d been drinking for 11 years, I had a great day drink, celebrate, if I had a bad day drink, get depressed and suicidal. And if I had a boring day drink and liven things up a little bit.
What’s it was hard about quitting drinking is that I had a lot of fun doing it and it was very easy to forget the pain.
Going to Alcoholics Anonymous every day helps me remember the pain.
Because it’s very easy and a world full of alcohol and a world full of commercials and billboards about how great alcohol is. It’s very easy to forget the amount of misery and pain and suffering I had as a result of alcohol.
The nice thing I learned and I see in AA is that I don’t have to pay a price for having a good time today. I used to think I had to pay a price for having fun that a hangover was simply the cost of admission for a great time.
Today I have just as much fun as I used to when I was drinking except no hangover. That’s a really sweet deal, isn’t it?
It’s nice now at the end of my drinking I had swore to God and prayed that I’d never drive again because I’d already wrecked one car, and I had to fill in. I was going to wreck another car if I ever drove again. After driving drunk 700 miles, I swore I’d never drink and drive again. And for the last several years of my drinking, as soon as I took one drink, I couldn’t drive anywhere.
And you know what sucks. Having a drink at noon, and drinking until eight the next morning and not being able to drive anywhere.
This was before Uber, and Uber Eats and all that stuff where you had to order a pizza or something, it gets sucks being stuck at home because you’re a drunken idiot. It’s nice that I can drive anytime now.
If I wake up in the middle of night, and there’s an emergency, I can drive I don’t have to get somebody else drive because I’m still wasted from the night before.
I go to Alcoholics Anonymous every day because it helps me learn and helps me teach others how to have a healthy sober life.
What really got me to go to AA after I prayed to God, I said, God, please, I know that I can’t stop drinking. It doesn’t matter what I want to do. I will change my mind about sobriety one day, no matter what has happened, I’ll decide eventually a drink will be a good idea. And then I’m screwed and I’m going to die.
I said -Please, God. I will do anything to stay sober and shortly after that, a thought crossed my mind that going to one of those Alcoholics Anonymous meetings might be a part of the anything you just offered. I thought well, I can do that. I mean that’s not that bad. I’ll go to AA meetings, fine, I’ll go take a look at it.
What got me excited to go to AA meeting, now picture this -I had a hangover at the time I described this, I had a hangover, and I’m picturing I can go help other people stay sober, as I still have a hangover can’t stay sober myself, I get excited and I can help other people stay sober.
And today that’s still excites me a lot. I’m grateful. My sobriety dates in April 2014. I’ve over five years sober now in July 2019. And my life has gotten the unimaginably good.
That means that when I first went to AA I couldn’t even imagine how good my life could be.
There’s no way I’d be a full-time YouTuber without going to AA In fact, going Alcoholics Anonymous is where my business really took off.
Because when you get drunk for 20 hours a week and have hangovers for 10 or 20 hours a week, it’s hard to run a successful business consistently.
Lots of people can function and drink a lot and build up a business but then there’s always those poor decisions.
I talked to a guy he made an incredibly successful business and he was drinking and decided one night drinking, he’d run for Congress. And the run for congress ended up beating up his entire business, and he lost everything.
That’s the thing with drinking, it’s those one night, we make some really bad decisions that can ruin everything and we see it all the time around us and yet, how many of us are are ready to open up and say, -You know what, I don’t know if I can stop drinking or not even if I want to.
I took a test in 2008 when I was in the middle of my alcoholism, trying to stay sober. But I wouldn’t go to AA, because I used to say AA is for quitters, and I thought there was some shaming quitting like when I quit football practice on 10th grade.
I felt the shame that I wasn’t strong enough to go be a football player. I really was. If I had wanted to, I just made a rational smart decision that who football practice hurt a lot the day before. This doesn’t look like it’s going a good direction in my life. I think the smart thing to do would be to quit.
And thank God I quit football practice, because I see guys now who played football. And they have knee injuries that have lingered on for 30 years after football. They still screwed up bodies and sometimes minds and lives as a result of playing football in high school. And I’m grateful today now that I quit that and yet, five years ago, I thought it was shameful to quit something. And I thought you know what, I can master this alcohol thing I can do this I can drink successfully, I can enjoy my drinking, I can control my drinking. And I can live a life with alcohol included in her.
I have a family member who struggles with alcohol and they say this that it’s the easiest thing to do is to not drink. Because when you don’t drink, it’s just life is really easy.
Drinking makes life harder and especially trying to drink in moderation is very challenging if you really like to drink.
Now if you don’t understand what it’s like to have a strong craving for alcohol, just look around in your own life and you’ll find unless you are incredibly healthy, you will find an area where your irrationality kicks in.
If you somehow watch this, you’re trying to understand it for someone else. Or if you want to understand it better in your own life. Just find an area where no matter what your good intentions are, things keep turning out bad.
A lot of us have struggles like this in our relationships where we can’t quit a person. We can’t just set something to say look, I’m not going to date this person anymore. I’m not going to work in this job anymore. Whatever it is, a lot of us struggle with quitting anything.
What I see is that AA gives me a chance to focus on the things that matter most of my life, it gives me a chance to give back every day. It gives me really helpful perspective. What happens when I go to AA meeting is this. I come in often I’m a little upset or, you know, on most days, I’m in great shape. Life is great, how you doing great, love it wonderful. Life is good.
Occasionally I’ll come in I’m a little frustrated with something like last time it’s my business. I’m like, -Man, I’m so far into my business I should be more successful by now I should not be having all this debt by now.
When I listen to what everybody else is going through, one person will say this is happening with their son, another person will say this happening their mother is dying. Another person will say my brothers in the midst of alcoholism, and it’s tough watch him, another person willl say, you know that my my friend’s son has cancer and it’s just tearing me up. And another person will say man, I just drank yesterday and I don’t know what I’m going to do today and another person will come in drunk and share some dumb stuff.
And I’m like, hey, that’s, that doesn’t look so sexy, does it? Because my mind says drinking is sexy. You have a drink, you look better, you talk better, you’re funnier. It’s funny when you do stay sober for often the people around you will say I liked you better drinking. Because it takes some time to kind of reclaim your personality aspect from drinking. In Alcoholics Anonymous, we learn how to take back the thing is drinking stole from us. I’m funny, sober. I’m good looking sober.
In fact it’s the best I’ve ever looked in my whole life. In this body. This is the best I look.
I dance better sober. I do everything better sober ar at least I’m capable of it if I’m not actually executing on it. I used to say that I played video games better drinking and often I would be so tense beforehand that a couple of drinks would relax me. And I would feel kind of normal. And then I would play my best. And then after 15 drinks it would degenerate into me screaming constantly and then being soaking quiet and making a drink. And I can’t believe any of my friends actually played so much with me.
I go to Alcoholics Anonymous today so I don’t forget that. Because it’s easy for my mind to say, “we’ll look at those people at the bar. They’re having fun, Don’t you wish you could have fun?” And I’m like, -I am having fun.
I’m grateful I don’t need alcohol that fun today. And I spot that as a test or as BS. That’s not the truth. That’s a lie. I was miserable and a scary person to be around when I was drinking I often was an angry or a depressive drunk. And I go to AA so I don’t forget that.
Because what I see a lots of times happening in Alcoholics Anonymous, this people have just got their butt kick, their life is a mess. Like when I came in, I was on the edge of losing my marriag and I was sure when I lost my marriage, I’d take my own life.
My wife had just got to the point where she said I can’t live like this anymore and she held on way longer than I would have held on. I mean, I used to have all night benders, like one night I chained saw the couch because it broke and I’m like -we’re just gonna cut this up right now so I can fit it in the trash can- thousands of stupid stories and my wife went through a bunch of those. She’d be trying to sleep for work. I’d be up at four in the morning screaming and yelling at the Xbox. It’d be two in the morning I’d wake her up like, hey, let’s watch this movie together. And I’d get all mad if she wouldn’t.
I was unpleasant to be around for a lot of my drinking. When I came in Alcoholics Anonymous, my business was near failing. I was getting I was getting questions from family members. -Hey, at what point do you declare bankruptcy? I’m like, well, not yet. Because I prioritize the alcohol over anything else.
As long as I could get any credit at all, I’d go by good liquor store, buy some more alcohol with it. Nevermind if I couldn’t really afford to do that, or I had better things to spend my money on.
My health was going downhill I weighed seventy pounds more than I do now. I looked fat and bloated. And in pain, I was in pain. My whole body was frequently in pain when I was sober. And now my body feels absolutely amazing, sober.
When I came in now Alcoholics Anonymous, I was on the edge of losing my life.
Alcoholic Anonymous was the only way I can see to save it based on direction from God. What happens to a lot of us is once we get out of that trauma zone, when I first came to, hey, if I didn’t stay sober, I was on the path to die. And what I’ve seen a lot of people do is come in Alcoholics Anonymous, get out of the danger zone, get their relationship back, get a new job, start looking better, lose some weight, get a new boyfriend or girlfriend, and all the sudden, well, my life’s good. I can cut back on a little bit.
I first came to two meetings a week because I’m like, Well, I drink like two days a week. Like a half handle a vodka, two days week. So like a gallon of vodka week.
I thought well, I’ll come to two meetings a week. And that’ll be enough.
And I soon realized that either I need to change and I need to do either I gotta drink, or I gotta get better but I can’t keep kind of wandering in the middle. So I see a lot of people get better in Alcoholics Anonymous who are willing to change. And yet then guess what happens when they’re willing to change and they get better then the the urgent fire under the motivation to go to AA slips away.
What I find is when I go to a every day, I keep that fire alive and that’s why I started making videos about it because people love what I share so much in Alcoholics Anonymous. Like, why don’t I put this up for anybody anywhere who might not have AA meeting near you who might have never heard from a from somebody else? Why don’t I talk to you about my experience with this, so that you can get this same benefit?
And I intend to make a lot more videos about Alcoholics Anonymous, because I don’t want to ever forget how important AA is for my life. Now I realized there’s people that don’t quite fit into AA that have kind of a poo poo platter of addictions as Bernie Brown says, a little bit of a drinking problem a little bit of a gambling problem, a little bit of an eating problem, a little bit of a relationship problem, a little bit of a work problem, a little bit of a depressive problem.
But when you put all of them together, life doesn’t really look good. So I understand that Alcoholics Anonymous is not for everybody. I’m lucky that I loved drinking a lot. I was good at it.
I remember taking the test that said, Are you an Alcoholic? and I got a 90+ percentile score, meaning I scored higher than 90% of the people who took the test and thought they might be alcoholic.
I thought yeah, I’m good at drinking. That’s right, I can drink real well.
I’m grateful I belong in AA, it gives me a chance to help other people every day. It gives me a chance to learn every day. And again, it’s showed me how love people every day, as they are with their imperfections.
When you live with someone that can be easy to fall, find and say how they should be different. And when you go to Alcoholics Anonymous, and you see how many faults people have you kind of learned to love them as they are that their faults actually make them interesting. They don’t need to change immediately, hopefully, eventually.
I go to Alcoholics Anonymous because it saved my life and I am grateful for the chance to give back to be an example of what a happy, sober life looks like.
I’ve rambled with that a lot on the tradition and stuff over the years and finally, I’m making videos directly about Alcoholics Anonymous, because it’s a big part of my life. And the Anonymous part is I don’t talk about other people, anyone specifically or by name that I go to meetings with. But it’s not an anonymous program for me, sharing my story, my sobriety, and my experience and I also totally disagree with the 11th tradition. When it comes to internet.
We have a lot of ability to help people and do good on the internet. And some of my resistance putting this up people like well, what if you get drunk?
Well, then this can still help you. Regardless of what happens to this particular body. I’ve been helped by lots of people who got drunk who drank themselves to death, who died rather sober, drunk, drunk people have helped me see what I don’t want to do.
I put this up with the intention to help you. I’ve heard lots of people talk about things like Joe and Charlie tapes, speaker meetings that have helped them and I intend to keep putting more videos up on Alcoholics Anonymous, sharing my experience with you. So it’ll be helpful.
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I love you! You’re awesome and I’ll see you in another video soon.