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My journey

I drank for 39 years on a daily basis. I was never going to drink. As a child carer for my mother who was diagnosed as a hopeless, chronic alcoholic with cirrhosis, I was sure I wouldn’t succumb to the demon drink. I grew up a depressed, suppressed adult with no friends and never felt loved. For some reason, when I was 18 years of age, I bought a bottle of wine and necked it down. Wow, I thought I had found the elixir of life! Suffering with constant fear too, this magic stuff removed some of that and gave me confidence, so I drank more to feel even better. The rest, as we alcoholics know, turns into mayhem. Alcohol, being a depressant, in the end drove me right back from whence I came. That invisible line into alcoholism crossed quite early on.

Years of drinking changed my personality. When in semi blackout I recall being verbally abusive and at times being physically threatening. Amazingly I was a functioning alcoholic. Then one day I reached that cliché of sick and tired of being sick and tired. I rang the AA helpline and it was suggested I attend a meeting. Feeling ashamed and alone I agreed to go with the lift that was arranged. I walked into this big hall full of people who were laughing, hugging and nicely dressed. I wanted what they had; I knew I was where I was meant to be – I had come home!

I didn’t realise I had surrendered at that moment. I heard people talking about a Higher Power, a God of their understanding, something more powerful than a bottle of booze! Three weeks in, and quite liking it, I heard about praying and asking this Higher Power for help. I went home and, on my knees, I said, “Please help me, I can’t do this on my own. Please remove this craving.” After 39 years of drinking the craving was removed in two days. I was converted there and then to a spiritual belief. I found the best sponsor who was just the person for me, I pray morning and night, do my readings, have commitments – having service keeps us coming back! The psychic change Dr Silkworth talks about has happened – my personality of a female ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ has vanished. I know that it could soon return if I stop going to meetings which is my medicine for my illness. I have to remember this illness wants to kill me but I know it’s just One Day at a Time, which grows into weeks, months, years. This is a precious, priceless gift.

Now I have friends and can help newcomers and others, by listening to them. Sharing my experience, strength and hope not only helps them but also myself. Today the Promises have come true for me. I don’t want to go back to those dark old days, why would I? I know what is in those bottles – poison. Why would I want to drink that? I must always be aware of the monkey on my shoulder, that this illness is cunning, baffling and powerful. I will never be cured as I have a mental obsession and physical allergy. No matter how long I have been sober, it’s still just one day at a time. I’m one day away from a drunk. Step One put me back on my feet and that’s the way I want to stay. Every day, I hand my life over to my Higher Power whom I choose to call God, and feel truly blessed now I am 20 years sober.

SUE W, Bournemouth