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The Best Decision

AFTER having the labels of child sexual assault victim, foster child, liar, cheat and probably many others, I was appalled at the label of alcoholic.

AFTER having the labels of child sexual assault victim, foster child, liar, cheat and probably many others, I was appalled at the label of alcoholic. My first mother-in-law thought I was not good enough for her beloved eldest son and did her best to separate us. We were young, in love and spent our nights drinking cheap anything, as long as it was alcoholic. Needless to say, my troubles then really began. I got pregnant, we got married, neither of us yet in our twenties.  Then he cheated on me with a neighbour’s girl and a few others. He never hit me, but the threat of violence was always there. He controlled me and so did alcohol.  I gave up custody of our son to his grandparents (his dad’s mum and dad) who adored their grandson, and I knew he would be looked after and loved. My intention was to find a place to live and then regain custody.  

That’s when the train crash started. Clubs, pubs, brawls, jobs that didn’t last long due to my drinking and a life of bed-sits and drinking. I vaguely recall ringing a helpline when I was about 21 and they suggested I contact Alcoholics Anonymous. WHAT? How dare they? But they obviously knew something I didn’t. It took me about another 24 years before I reached a rock bottom that I just could not climb out of.  During the last 20 years of my drinking, I had got re-married (to the man I’m still married to and who I love dearly), held down a professional job and appeared, I think, in control. However, inside I was still falling apart and causing chaos wherever I went.  My job had a drinking culture, but I very rarely went out with colleagues as I could not drink the way I wanted to. I thought I hid it well - but I could not hide it from myself.  In 1986 I rang the AA Helpline, but it took another 10 years before I walked through the doors of Alcoholics Anonymous. By that time, my marriage was on a knife edge, and I had never got my son back into my life.  

It was the best decision I have ever made. The Best. The Fellowship of AA has taught me how to live alcohol free. It has taught me to be responsible for my actions. To think of others first.  To do service for the Fellowship. To be the person I think maybe my God wanted me to be. My marriage survived, my son, 30 years later, is back in my life. I am retired now; I left my job before I was let go and I live in a beautiful area.  I attend meetings, I have a marvellous sponsor, I have sponsees and I try my hardest to put the Steps of AA into my daily life. In fact, life has never been so good. Oh, I have health problems but nothing I can’t cope with. My head sometimes still messes with me, which is when I have to ring my sponsor and give myself a talking to. All told, I am a very happy alcoholic in recovery.  Thank you SHARE team for your excellent work.

JOJO, work in progress, Reeth