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I attended my first meeting almost six months ago and I wrote this not long before a meeting when I was around three months sober, describing how I felt in the run-up to giving up alcohol and coming to AA. This really was my darkest hour and the unexpected kindness came from AA when I needed it more than ever. No one said giving up the habit of a lifetime would be easy, but life without alcohol is so much better than life before:

Some have heard of the dark night of the soul, some have not. Some have experienced it without knowing a name to call the experience and some are lucky enough never to have lived a life that the dark night could find. I was not the latter.

My dark night began like a glance down a long tunnel with only blackness at the end. A peek at what lay ahead. As I looked into its emptiness, the darkness consumed me into its abyss, filling every corner of my life. Where once there had been love and laughter, in my dark night, it was gone and it happened as quick as an unexpected rainstorm on a clear blue day.

Days bled into nights, minutes felt like years, pain and despair were all I knew. In my dark night, I’d literally lost everything I held dear and with that, I’d lost myself. My soul was plummeted into darkness, my body ached with exhaustion, yet sleep escaped me. When those brief moments of sleep came, they fuelled my torment with dreams of turmoil, loss and exile. My stomach churned with emptiness, yet my appetite for food was gone. My appetite for everything was gone and my sorrow and pain ran too deep for even tears.

And so, my long dark night went on and on.

But as days became weeks, shoots of a new beginning started to emerge and strength within me grew. Kindness that had been planted from unexpected places grew into green shoots of hope, surpassing the weeds of condemnation. The stormy clouds of my dark night began to fall away, inviting sunshine and colour back into my life. Light and love slowly crept back into my life. I was coming back.

Some call this experience a blessing from God, a transformative process, where someone loses everything to resurface better, stronger, transformed. A metamorphosis, like a beautiful butterfly who emerges from its cocoon and can fly. A devastating experience only gifted to some, whose life is greatly improved by the experience they had faced. After all, how can you not be grateful for everything you have, when you know how it is to live your life without it? How can you not be forever changed?

As I emerged from the dust of my downfall, every day I stood up stronger; every day I walked taller; every day my thoughts were clearer; every day my belief in myself grew greater; every day my will to do better, be better, simply grew.

Why the dark night found me, I do not know and the circumstances leading to it are in the past now. It came as a curse and then a blessing, at a dangerous crossroads in my life. A spiritual awakening people call it, gifted from a Higher Power, to guide you back to a better path in life.

That’s what it was for me – a revolution – because when my dark night of the soul ended, the dawn of my new life began.