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Hello, my name is Jim and I’m a recovering alcoholic one day at a time through the teachings, the Programme and the support of members in Alcoholics Anonymous.
I worked in a secure psychiatric hospital in Scotland during 1989 when I was first sent to AA by my employer. I was taken to my first meeting in Biggar at that time. I had been drinking in the morning of the day when two members of AA collected me to take me to that meeting so I certainly wasn’t sober. The only thing I chose to hear at that meeting was the mention of God. I’m sure there were a lot of positive recovery-oriented things said, but I chose to only hear the word ‘God’.
In my opinion, God had gone out of my life when he wouldn’t stop my drunken father from beating me up every weekend. He wouldn’t stop my maternal grandfather abusing me and my siblings from the age of four to the age of nine. He wouldn’t cure my mother of multiple sclerosis and confined her to a wheelchair until she died.
I was to drink when I came back from that meeting; even though the evidence in the mirror proved that my liver had been severely damaged by an overdose of paracetamol and alcohol just days before. It would be another four years before I had my last drink. In the interim, I lost the job, my house, my marriage, my children and my life for a short period of time after the overdose.
Even after that last drink, I was still in denial. I refused my doctor’s suggestion to go back to AA and chose counselling for 15 months. Somehow, I don’t know how, I didn’t drink during that time although I was desperate for a drink daily. After these torrid months I was heading to the off-licence for a bottle of vodka and a bottle of paracetamol. I was going to do the same thing again!
I happened to meet a member of AA as I was headed to the shop. He asked me how I was doing, and I answered “Fine” to which he replied “Tell your face you’re fine. How about coming back to AA?” He kept me talking and took me to my brother’s house where he got an assurance that he would make sure I got to the meeting in Lanark on the Thursday.
I came back to meetings on 19th May 1995 and have been attending regularly ever since. I quickly got involved in service and am still involved to this day. I’d recommend it to anyone to have the ability to help others and take the focus off self.
After six months back at the meetings I got a sponsor and the cravings left after I embarked on the Programme. I’d been a dry drunk for 21 months so this man had to cut through the lying and the cheating to find the real me, plant the seeds of the AA Programme and nourish my growth with courage, support and guidance.
I had been reluctant to seek a sponsor, being initially frightened of the concept, not knowing what a sponsor was until someone a lot wiser than me told me that the word sponsor was an acronym for - Sober Person Offering Newcomer Suggestions On Recovery.
I hadn’t realised it was as simple as that, and the fear of sponsorship disappeared. Through my sponsor’s help I was able to bury my father with dignity, write him a letter after the funeral and write letters to my mother and grandfather, both of whom died before I got sober in 1993.
I was introduced to more acronyms in AA - Don’t Even Notice I Am Lying; Hearing Optimistic Positive Experience; Fears Articulated Increase The Hope; Gaining Our Defences.
I had no defence against the first drink but, as long as I attend regular meetings, share what’s going on in my head and work the Programme of Alcoholics Anonymous to the best of my abilities, I need never drink again.
Thanks to everyone in this fantastic Fellowship, Roundabout and other similar recovery magazines I will be have celebrated 24 years of continuous sobriety on St Valentine’s Day 2017, if the GOD of my understanding spares me.
Thank you in fellowship
Jim Fae Lanark
Falkirk Monday Night