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I started my recovery in a treatment center in June 1995. I "thought" I was a quick study and would get the basics of the program in twenty-eight days and "would have it made." One pivotal day, several weeks into my sponsorship, my sponsor, gave me a notebook. "This is the only thing I am ever going to give you physically in AA. You already have a Big Book." He told me that for six months I should take notes at every AA meeting-not to record any specific person, date, etc. [as] anonymity is the spiritual foundation of AA!. He told me to "Get the truths and the lies about booze...Assume each and every person in AA has a PhD in drinking, self-torture and taking loved ones hostage... They are your teachers, your professors and mentors. Take notes because they have the power to save your life." At first this was just a task to be done suspecting that my sponsor was going to check and "grade me." But I kept taking notes and more importantly read and re-read them. The Big Book, the steps, my sponsor, my higher power and meetings were the cornerstones of my program. But over time, the portable sayings of my AA groups became part of me and of my program as well. They added humor and humanness to each and every day. I needed and continue to need all the tools. Every Xmas break I transcribe the previous year. Open at random, have a laugh, have a cry, and most importantly stay sober today and pass that on. -Terry B.