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Alive for the First Time

Alive for the First Time

Audio Version

I have been sober now for 17 months. I feel alive for the first time after 25 years of drinking myself into oblivion by using alcohol as a crutch and justifying my drinking because my life was a mess. I never once admitted or realised that it was me who was the mess and that my inability to manage my own life was down to my poor self-esteem and fear of being unloved.

Thank God for AA! Alcoholics Anonymous has not only saved my life but has given me new life! I remember at one of my first meetings being told "If you don't take the first drink you cannot get drunk." It seemed pretty obvious but not to an alcoholic. But why? I had at this point progressed from binge drinker to daily drinker to morning drinker to thinking about drinking, breathing drinking and if I wasnâ??t drinking, wanting to drink. The cravings were so bad that every morning, after shaking, sweating and trying to sleep after the coma of passing out had finished, the only thing I could do was reach for a drink to stop the dry retch, shakes and alcoholic remorse. Only then could I try to exist.

And it was just an existence. It wasn't life. Okay, I held down a job as many of us do and on the outside I seemed in control, happy, the life and soul of the party but inside, alcohol had consumed me. I had at this point lost contact with my two grown up sons and had not heard from them in over 10 years. I was hanging on for dear life in a battle to keep in contact with my daughter. She now had two beautiful daughters of her own whom she wasn't keen to introduce to me, the alcoholic mum who embarrassed her and had done so throughout her teenage years. Who could blame them? Definitely not me.

It's not like that today. I went to my first meeting to support my estranged husband as he had found the Fellowship. He was very different to the husband that I was with nine months previously. You can imagine: two alcoholics in one household having a love affair with alcohol. It was pretty awful.

I remember listening to the suggestions and thinking "This sounds good but how does it work?" The proof was on the faces of the sober people in the rooms. They all seemed at peace with themselves. This was something I had never experienced, even as a child. I went to a few meetings and then surrendered. I knew I was an alcoholic but had never wanted to stop drinking. The light came on for me when listening to other alcoholics sharing their experience and their hope. I joined a group and my relationship with my husband took a new path. It was hard at first and still can be. We didn't like each other drunk so why would we like each other sober? Our journeys are, to this day, very different but I now consider him my friend and confidant. Something I could never have felt before.

I went to plenty of meetings in the beginning and listened and started to understand this illness. The solution was within my grasp if I didn't take that first drink, if I admitted I was powerless and if I handed my will over. I can honestly say that a weight has been lifted from me. The burden of alcohol abuse and misery has gone since I have been sober. In the beginning it was hard and it took me a while to share but it does make you feel better, especially when you are in a room with like-minded people who understand. The racing brain, the shakes and the self-loathing all began to pass. It is an indescribable feeling being able to wake up with a clear head and look forward to each day.

Recovery! What a great word. I am recovering every day and in the last 17 months I have completed a course at college and started university last September to study for my degree. I attended my daughter's wedding in July and now have the pleasure of being called Nanny. My relationship with my mother over the years was very bad but now we talk on the telephone twice a week. I have left old friends behind and formed new friendships. Keeping sober company definitely helps my recovery.

My gratitude to AA and all of my fellow, recovering alcoholics is overwhelming. I am looking forward to living a sober life, one day at a time.


Paisley Abbey Friday