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Spring has sprung. What a lovely time of the year to be without the demon drink lurking around every corner and hiding in every nook and cranny. I say this because that is how I lived for many years, hiding drink all over the place just in case I ran out of it. Drink was the main thought in my mind at all times. I’d even wake up during the night and creep downstairs for a wee sip then I’d stop halfway back up the stairs and think “I’d better just have another sip” then back to the drinks cabinet for more. My every day was controlled by alcohol and the means of getting it but that is another story in itself. All the years I drank I never once gave any thought to my family and how my drinking may be affecting them, not once. My life was slowly disintegrating of that I was sure but I could do nothing about it. My escape from the reality of my situation was more alcohol, the very stuff that was causing all my anxieties. You see it was always me, me, me. I gave consideration to no one. My family suffered in silence, most of the time, but any time anyone mentioned my behaviour in drink I would get really angry and stomp out of the house, which suited me, and go to the pub for a quiet drink and a good blether with my drinking buddies. Yes, when trouble met me face to face at home I had some real good friends to turn to.
My drinking started in my early working life back in the very early Sixties and followed me through until I had had enough. You see it’s me again, it was me who was hurting poor, poor me. Many other people in my life got hurt through my drinking but when they expressed what they were going through, my stock-in-trade answer to them was “If you had my problems you’d drink like me so go away” but not quite in those words. Having had enough trouble in my life, I made a decision to try Alcoholics Anonymous assisted by suggestions from my then boss, who I had wronged.
I approached a fellow who I knew had been to AA. I thought I would go to this AA place for perhaps a couple of visits and all would be sorted, just like getting a sore tooth removed. However I was to learn fairly quickly that I was wrong again and that I was entering what would become a lifelong Programme. I must admit that I was pretty daunted by the thought in the beginning but I knew deep down that I had no alternative; this was my last port of call. Going into my first meeting that night my friend turned to me and said “When we get in here for once in your life do as you’re told”. I’m happy to say that’s what I tried to do from day one, although it was not always possible because you good people were asking me to do things that were totally against the grain of a hardened drinker. ‘Don’t lift the first drink and you won’t get drunk’ seemed to stick in my brain, or what was left of it.
It has been a sad time lately for me as I have lost some wonderful friends in the Fellowship and although I am not going to name them I will simply say they have left me, and indeed many more folk, with a wonderful legacy. I started by mentioning spring and I suppose if my contribution to Roundabout gets published it will be summer.
I will do my very best in the Fellowship to help me stay sober. I remember the words ‘Do what you’re told’. Every day I am alive and as the result of this I have quite a good life today. To any newcomer reading this I would say simply “Don’t lift the first drink and you won’t get drunk” and “Do what you’re told”.
Yours in sobriety
South Group, Muirend, Glasgow