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Personal experiences

When I was drinking I was thankful every morning that I was still alive. Now I’m thankful every morning for being alive.

I have heard it said in AA meetings that alcoholism is the only illness that will convince you that you haven’t got one. This was certainly true for me in my last days of drinking. Like a whirlpool, it affected everyone around me. First those dearest to me and then the circle widened with me in the middle. It was no longer a pleasure for me to drink but a necessity. Loved ones and friends suffered as the desire to drink became stronger and more important. Alcohol had taken over completely making even the simplest of tasks impossible. My main concern was how to get enough booze to get me through the day. I was selfish and intolerant, I lied and cheated and anything I had to do I did just to get a drink. DT’s, shakes and alcoholic fits were a daily occurrence and were accompanied by a great fear of something but not knowing what. This was tearing me apart. Self confidence was non existent and, without doubt, my life had become unmanageable. I knew my drinking was destroying me and my family but I was powerless over it. I was beaten, life had nothing left to offer me. I had reached my gutter. Then came a glimmer of hope, for AA had entered my life. There I found people who had suffered as I did, who knew every thought I was thinking and who had been to where I was now. But, more importantly, I had met people who really cared about me. The next four years of my life were spent in and out of mental hospitals, being treated for my alcoholism, suicide attempts, and my newly developed drug addiction. Still drinking, still sick. Eventually, my sponsor, who had stuck by me over these years, helped in getting me admitted to a treatment centre. By which time I had been given just six months to live. Taking one day at a time for seven long months I came back to Jersey on April 30th 1982. I went back to meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous with a different attitude and with a faith in God whom I thought had deserted me. I believe today that he had always been there. How else could I have come through those last years without him? Just being able to walk down the street without feeling any shame was wonderful. The whirlpool had gone. AA has given and shown me a new way of life and, to keep it , I have to give it away. I have to give back the love I’ve been shown, to care and share for new members the way they did for me. Sobriety has been a mixture of good and bad times, happy and sad times, throughout which I have felt grateful to always remember what it used to be like. For someone who prayed and longed for death for so long, to now hold on to life and the fellowship with both hands. I now have something to live for. My alcoholism has been arrested, one day at a time. From my family and I, with gratitude too great for words.

A Grateful Lady in AA Jersey.

The Binge Drinker…..

Alcoholics drink daily, don’t they? Not in my case. Instead, more often than not, whenever I drank, I got drunk. Once I had taken the very first sip, I couldn’t tell you what I would do, where I would end up and who I would hurt along the way.

Fear of my behaviour stopped me drinking in front of my family. I gave up for long periods of time but inevitably, I would drink again and the whole downward spiral would start. My family suffered, particularly my husband who bore the brunt of my drunkard tirades; including verbal and physical violence. In desperation, I rang Alcoholics Anonymous and attended my first meeting. Here I heard my own story in many others and found understanding and hope that I too could quit drinking. The Program of Alcoholics Anonymous, its fellowship of understanding helped me so that today I am free of alcohol, love my children, appreciate my family, friends, life and even me. AA has done for me what I couldn’t do for myself and so much more. It is bliss living a life free from the bondage of alcohol, to be positive, loving and loved. ”

Teenage Drinker.

I was 18 years old and too ill to take my A levels or go to university. I was depressed every day and drunk every night. I could not stop drinking even though I hated myself for being so out of control and hurting those around me. I thought I was too young to be an alcoholic but when I went to a Meeting of A A, I knew I was in the right place. I met people who had been as desperate as I was and yet they had been able to stop drinking and stay stopped! I am glad I followed their example and kept going to meetings. Now that I am sober, I can do what I want with my life, study, travel, party; as long as I don’t drink alcohol.

Do I mind being an alcoholic? No way. I am glad to know I am an alcoholic and know what to do about it. Young Alcoholics don’t seem to become Old Alcoholics unless they stop drinking. Thanks to AA I am alive and happy and fairly well behaved. Thanks to AA, I have a future to look forward to.

Hospitalized Drinker

1992 had become the very worst year of my life â?? I had become a chronic alcoholic, no longer the person I had been brought up to be. The addiction to alcohol was so great that the only days I never drank were those spent in hospital for Detox and then finally for a spell in the Adult Psychiatric Department (after an intentional overdose). I was at the jumping off place and could not envisage a life with or without alcohol.

The lives of all those who cared for me had become a living nightmare, until I was introduced to the meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous. Here I was shown a way of living sober and enjoying sobriety that I could never have imagined 19 years ago. No greater love could have been shown to me by the members of Alcoholics Anonymous, who had been where I had been. Then I felt so ashamed to share with others and yet now am so very proud to be part of such a wonderful fellowship.

All day drinker.

I started drinking when I was 17 and for years drank socially. But at some time I crossed the line from social to heavy and then to compulsive drinking.I then had no will power or self control to cut down or stop drinking although I did try, without success. I was ‘topping up’ during all waking hours with no thought for the happiness or safety of my family. This continued until I was 45 years old and someone told me about Alcoholics Anonymous. With AA I was able to stop drinking, rejoin society and have a really good life.

Family Man

“I would never have done the things I did had I been Sober!”

I am an Alcoholic but have now been sober for over 23 years thanks to the help of Alcoholics Anonymous. Twenty Four Years ago my Life was a real mess. I thought everything was OK and that it was only unforeseen circumstances rocking my world, when in essence it was my out of control drinking. My family could not understand my behaviour which could seem genuine and yet minutes later was a total lie with me doing all the things I had just promised never to do again.

I was born at the end of the war years into a very happy hard working family and my parents strived to give me a good education and grounding for the future. I had been given a good set of morals to live by and strived to adhere to them; Then Alcohol got in the way. I was introvert and shy but a little of the hard stuff lifted me into an outgoing extrovert; a life where I was the soul of the party, generous to all. Unfortunately my persona was falsely driven by alcohol and the generosity only for purchasing affection. My drinking removed a house, (our family home), a business, created difficulties in keeping our children at school, nearly removed my family from me, and nearly removed me from the book of life; And yet I thought I was in control. How crazy was that?

I was to learn in AA, that Alcoholism is an illness and is controllable a day at a time. If I don’t take the first drink I can’t get drunk. Putting down the drink was easy. Leaving it alone was another problem but Alcoholics Anonymous showed me the way to a happy life, totally free of alcohol.I still attend meetings of AA and enjoy every minute of them. I have a happy family who respect what I have achieved and maintain a day at a time. I am not boring and miserable without Alcohol. In fact I am the complete opposite. If Alcoholics Anonymous can do so much for me, it can do the same for you, if you want it! If you are doing things under the influence of Alcohol that you would never dream of doing sober or if you feel your life would be better if you didn’t drink, give AA a determined go as I did.

I rang 726681, the telephone number for AA and since then my life has improved beyond my wildest dreams.

Working Man

I am an Alcoholic and a grateful member of Alcoholics Anonymous.

I was born in Jersey and apart from being deported during the war (as my father was English) and a later spell in the army, I have lived in Jersey all my life. I learnt my trade at De Gruchy’s and established a successful business. After many years drinking socially, I drifted into drinking secretly, too heavily and too often.I was able to work and was never violent but needed alcohol all the time. Throughout the day I was topping up, never totally incapable, but bad enough to be a worry to my family and for the local store to stop giving me any credit. I drank when I took the dog for a walk in the morning and drank when walking him at night. The Track we walked was a convenient place to get rid of the bottles in the 40 gallon bins.

I knew nothing about alcoholism or A.A.

My wife, desperate about my drinking, joined Al-anon, a group that helps family and friends of alcoholics. After a family row I decided to go too, but was surprised to find myself in an AA meeting instead. I am now grateful for this introduction and for the men and women I met, who shared their experience with me, and with whom I identified. When I met them, I realized I could stop drinking like they had done. At the age of 45, after many years of drinking day in, day out, I was able get sober and stay sober. Now, 33 years on, I am still sober and able to share my own experience and help new members to get what I have….a contented life without alcohol.

If you are worried about your drinking, phone 726681.

I am a “Grateful Member”, I am an alcoholic, and I want to share about the fellowship that saved my life.

I first went to Alcoholics Anonymous when I was 18. All I knew about AA was that it was where people in trouble with drink went and through some mysterious process were able to stop drinking. I wanted to stop drinking because of the damage it was doing to me and my family, and yet despite being desperately miserable, I was reluctant to go to AA as I found it impossible to believe that a group of ex drunks attending meetings could help me. I did not think I would find much in common with them. I was too young for a start. They would all probably be over 40. I was barely out of school. I was physically OK or so I thought.. I had a bed to sleep in, a warm home and food to eat. Outwardly I looked fairly fit and together, except when I was drunk (which was often) I had only been drinking 5 years. I didn’t drink all day….only in the evening. I guessed that real alcoholics had been drinking for years and carried a bottle around and drank all the time. I was too privileged. I guessed that AA members would all have histories of abuse in their childhood, or patterns of heavy drinking in their families. I had a caring, stable family circle whose idea of drinking was opening a bottle of wine at Christmas. I was too well educated. I knew what damage alcohol could do, but this didn’t seem to make any difference. I just could not stop. I thought I might have to take pledges impossible to keep, or have some kind of religious belief. I had no faith in god or in anything and I had been promising to keep away from alcohol for years( and meaning it) but to no affect.

Yet AA was (and is) definitely the right place for me. Thank goodness I made that first phone call and got to a meeting. I know now I was very ill and may not have lived to see 21 if I carried on the way I was doing. I had to drink, and when I drank, I always got drunk. I got injured, got burnt; I drove drunk, got mixed up in dangerous situations. I behaved badly, I upset people…especially my family, but when I tried to keep away from alcohol I was too much of a nervous wreck to cope with everyday things like talking to people and managing a day’s work. I had not been able to continue my education and go to university because of this extreme withdrawn state which was only relieved by having a drink of alcohol.

I had started drinking when I was 13. This was not particularly unusual. All my friends seemed to be drinking. But as time went on, they were drinking through choice whilst it was becoming necessary for me. I became progressively more uncomfortable if I did not drink. My behaviour may have appeared like teenage surliness or rebellion but I was in fact becoming more and more frightened. I was out of control. My pride encouraged the surly and rebellious assessment. It was more macho to be bad than to be sick, but I was beaten by alcohol and eventually I had to admit it.

This admission was all I needed to make a start in Alcoholics Anonymous. Making a phone call (the number in Jersey is 726681) and talking, or just listening to an AA member and attending my first meeting was a very straightforward and simple procedure, but, because of the state I was in, I found it difficult to do. I am so glad I did it. It was the most important decision of my life.

At Alcoholics Anonymous no assessment was made of my drinking habits or the quantity I drank. Nobody judged me. No one at AA told me I was an alcoholic. They spoke only about themselves, about the misery of their drinking and how stopping drinking with the help of AA had transformed their lives. It was my decision whether I wanted what they had…sobriety. I decided to continue going to Meetings and to try and stay away from a drink one day at a time. It worked and without having to drink alcohol I found I could become myself again, find confidence and self esteem, enjoy life and make my own choices without the compulsion to drink entering the picture.

The only requirement for membership for Alcoholics Anonymous is a desire to stop drinking. How much you drank, who you drank with, where you drank, what age you are, how rich, how poor…none of it matters because AA concentrates on staying sober and helping others to achieve sobriety. AA members stay sober a day at a time.

The day at a time business, apart from being a method that works and has helped millions to stop drinking, ensures that AA is a fellowship without hierarchy, without bosses, without teachers or counsellors (unless that is what members do in their outside profession ) I love this about AA. I was able to join without shame for past deeds. I was a member because I wanted to be and felt I belonged because the business of all members is the same….stay away from alcohol. My youth did not set me apart. I identified with the distress and the heartache that fellow members were describing and gained hope and strength from their ability to stay sober through good times and bad.

These days there are in fact many young people in AA. Being young they may use their sobriety in different ways than older members (studying, partying, dating, travelling; all are possible to young AA members, although these things were seldom possible when we were drinking) but Alcoholics Anonymous helps young people stay sober in the same way as it helps all members to stay sober.

I still say I am staying away from alcohol â??just for todayâ? but as a member of Alcoholics Anonymous I have been fortunate to have many sober, happy productive years, with a career I love, with the respect of my colleagues, with a family of my own which I can care for consistently and responsibly and with the prospect of happiness and success in the future.

All this, is because I am able to stay away from one drink, one day at a time in Alcoholics Anonymous.


The number for Alcoholics Anonymous in Jersey is 01534 726681. The phone is manned from 7 am til 10 pm by AA members. It is totally confidential. No record of the phone call is kept. It will be the means of introducing the caller, if they wish, to AA. No personal details, such as surname are recorded. There is no membership list. There are 24 meetings of AA in Jersey held weekly.

For those with a drink problem Alcoholics Anonymous has the solution.