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I never thought I would say these words, “I have a sponsor.” She has my back, she freely shares the wisdom that was passed on to her from her sponsor, she is without judgement.

To stop drinking was the first best decision I made and the second was letting the small and committed meditation group that I am part of know this in our online group chat one day. Later that day I heard a ping, a private text message from a woman in the group. She had picked up on my mentioning that I had stopped drinking and was reaching out to say that she stopped drinking 14 years ago and was ‘here’ should I need to chat. I found this sweet at the time, but little did I know how important her reaching out would turn out to be.

I had been riding my new-found sobriety wave for over a year by then and the novelty was starting to wear off. I had read all the sobriety books and had become increasingly irritable. I was also isolating a lot. At work I would micro-manage everyone and gossip. At home I would crash on the sofa and experience suicidal thoughts.

I later found that the term for what I was experiencing is ‘dry drunk’ and that I had been ‘white knuckling’ my sobriety. When I started to obsess and worry about a possible holiday plan to visit my partner’s family in Italy in just under a year’s time, I knew I was in trouble, “What if I relapsed?” It would be so easy with the alcohol flowing and, let’s face it, sobriety wasn’t looking so great either at that point.

I made the call. The woman from my meditation group answered and she listened. She listened so well. She suggested that I attend an AA meeting. “But I don’t drink anymore,” I gasped. “But you did, and you will,” she responded. I attended and I cried. I cried with relief as the warped thoughts of what I thought AA would be like dissolved. I felt accepted and understood. I wanted a slice of this! I was no longer alone!

I attended meetings and slowly developed an understanding of this mysterious Programme. I was encouraged to find a sponsor so I could start to work the Twelve Steps. “Choose carefully,” other AA women would say. “Choose someone who has a good length of sobriety, works their Programme well and has values that seem to align with your own.” Today the woman from my meditation group is my sponsor. Today I have not drunk alcohol in over three years, but it was only when I started on this honest Programme of recovery two years ago that I started to become truly (emotionally) sober.