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STEP ONE

Pull Your Socks Up ... If You've Got Any On

No Audio Version  Sorry

A community centre, and laughter coming from inside. I look down at my feet - Italian loafers with no socks, well it was the early nineties! I must have spent a lot of time looking down as I can recall the types of shoes people from my past had worn. My heart beating through my chest. How did it come to this? - An Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. I'm a nice bloke - a hard worker.

Upset stomach. Sweaty hands. Clumps of hair falling out. Black rings under my eyes.

Now or never. Blinding headache, always headaches. Cheap pile carpet. Door slightly ajar. Now or Never.......

A good Mother, a good Father - nearly everything good. Dad liked a couple of bottles of beer a week, Mam didn't drink. Sister? - an occasional glass of wine.

At 17 years old I took my first drink and promptly got drunk. Second drink at 18 - drunk again. Drink would, for 14 years, be the corroding thread that ran through my life. Nature or nurture? It doesn't concern me now.

When interviewed for the job I would do for many years, I was asked if I was a team player. "Oh yes" I replied. Inside though I'd always felt different. Self conscious, anxious and lacking in confidence. Drinking took away these feelings. What started out as habitual drinking turned into a mental obsession. No matter what threats were made, or kind words said, I wasn't able to stop pouring it down my throat. I was always on the run - hiding it, lying about it "Have you been drinking?" - "No". In denial. "You're an alcoholic" - "Don't be stupid." (or cheeky.) After all a nice, quality bottle of French wine went well with white meat, then a bottle of really cheap plonk went well with sitting on a park bench by myself.

Drink became my friend, lover and constant companion. It acted slowly and thoroughly. It gradually took away ambition, dignity, self worth, a wife, a detached house and replaced them with mental turmoil, a feeling of tortured loneliness and a damp one bedroomed flat.

My sister contacted AA and I attended my first AA meeting. This was 50 miles from where I lived, and I called myself by another name. Not that I was paranoid or sensitive! Initially I blamed everyone and everything for my drinking. I realised after a while, that, as they say, no one poured it down my throat and that not everyone drank like me.

This was on the 3rd May 1992. I haven't had a drink since.

I now realize that after I had been in AA for a while that it was my responsibility to stay sober.

Throughout my life pain has always led to some progress. This is true today. Events in my life don't necessarily need to disturb me. My reaction to them is the important thing. I am still fully involved with AA to stay sober and help others. Life is good.

Hope: Defined as a verb its definitions include: "expect with confidence" and "to cherish a desire with anticipation." Among its opposites are dejection, hopelessness and despair."

Enough said.

ANON.