I thought about this in a new way last week at my meeting. I did not try to stay sober outside of AA. Any time I was trying to stay sober, I went to AA. When I wasn’t going to AA, I was trying to drink successfully, not to stay sober.
I got sober because I couldn’t drink successfully. That’s what I really wanted to do, and tried to do, for years. I am blessed and lucky that one day, before it killed me, I gave up trying to do it successfully, admitted that I couldn’t, and went back to AA.
I got sober because my choices truly were sobriety, death, or institution. I chose sobriety.