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The Welcome was Overwhelming

TheWelcome Was Overwhelming

The Welcome Was Overwhelming

Audio Version  

My name is Caroline and I am an alcoholic. This month I celebrated two years continuous sobriety, a day at a time. Every week at my home group we encourage people to get involved in service, telephone answering lines, prison work and contributing to Roundabout. As I am on holiday and it is my birthday and therefore a time of reflection, I thought it would be a good time to put pen to paper.

I have no dramatic story of how I came to AA other than I felt totally lost and disconnected. My life was empty of meaning and purpose. I was in a place I didn't want to be with no idea what was wrong with me and how to change it. My daughters were in their late teens. I was in a marriage that was not working for either party and I hadn't worked for nearly 20 years. Anxiety and panic attacks were part of my daily life and I used alcohol to escape and numb the pain.

I had tried to seek help in all the usual places but with no success. I changed my drink, tried to control the amount I drank, stopped for short times but never with any lasting result. My life was becoming more and more unmanageable. After a very unpleasant incident with a family member when I let 25 years of resentment spill from my mouth, I knew I had to stop drinking. Unable to face up to my reality I had a final spree. By now I was drinking every day, terrified, lonely and full of self pity. I didn't know where to turn.

Thankfully, a friend and neighbour had recently started attending AA meetings and when I finally knew I was done I reached out to him. He collected me that very morning and took me to my first meeting.

Sitting next to a lovely lady who is today my friend, I remember saying I wanted to be able to bottle how I felt so I would never forget how bad it was. I felt sick, sweaty, anxious and yet despite all of that I heard a message. I can't remember who was sharing or what was said but the welcome I received was overwhelming. For the first time I was with people I could identify with and who understood me. The message was clear to me: I could have a new life, a better life, a sober life. I did everything that was suggested to the best of my ability and have never lifted a drink since.

Wonderful people were put in my path. I attended meetings daily, I joined a group, I got a sponsor and I went through the Programme of Recovery. I shed many tears. The more I learned about myself the more I was able to understand what was wrong with me and how I could change. Gradually my life began to improve as I applied the Programme every day as best I could. With the support of the Fellowship I have survived the breakdown of my marriage, the death of a family member and some difficult family situations. All with an amount of dignity, I hope.

Today my life is completely different. I am no longer full of fear and anxiety. I feel connected to a Higher Power. I have healthy relationships with friends and family and try to be the best mother I can to my two daughters. Fortunately I have been able to return to the workplace and have taken ownership of my first home and for the first time in my life am responsible for myself. Wonderful people have come into my life over the last two years and I am truly living a life I only dreamed of.

I work hard at maintaining my sobriety and appreciate I only ever have today. Every morning I do my readings and meditate. The difference this has made to me is incredible. It grounds me and connects me to my Higher Power. I do service at intergroup and help with the telephone answering service. I know I need these anchors to keep me grateful and involved in AA.

AA has given me not only sobriety but hope, courage, honesty, contentment, joy, peace and has made me the best version of me I can be today. I am truly grateful for everything AA has afforded me. I've had an incredible two years and I am continually learning a day at a time. I am excited to see how my journey unfolds.

Yours in Fellowship.