My name is, well that is not important, I am one of many ,I am an alcoholic.

At the age of 14 I picked up my first drink. Not unusual for a teenager, except for one difference. For me there was never a question of one drink, not then, not ever. My friends would get drunk and pass out, I would go home to a bottle of rum hidden in my closet.

I still had enough ambition to get through school, and that kept me sober most of the  time during my teenage years, when Friday would roll around out came the bottle. Slowly the weekends started a day earlier as my obsession for alcohol grew. Then came my career and my 5 PM happy hour, which consisted of me, my cats and a bottle of rum.

When I wasn’t drinking, I was planning which store I would buy my bottle from. Living on a small island I had the delusion no one knew. Everyone morning was the same,  waking up filled with remorse and self hatred. One occasion I was out drinking, and placed myself in one of those situations where the next day brought me literally to my knees praying  and begging for help to whatever God there was.

The following day I went to my family doctor and for the first time told someone about my drinking. It was like a burden had been lifted from me. At the time I was in my early twenties. On the advice of my doctor I went to my first meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. It was a relief to hear others share their stories, to hear them say that once they took that first drink, they had no control over the amount or outcome of their drinking.

All of a sudden I wasn’t alone anymore with my dark secret and shame. There were others that had gone through the same as I did. I took their suggestions, followed the steps the best I knew at the time.

Life changed for the better. My career went better, I loved to travel, saw all the countries I wanted to. Got married, had two beautiful children, and  enjoying the benefits that sobriety gave me, but unknowingly I was also slowly walking away from the program.

I lived with the philosophy if I stayed away from the first drink I would not get drunk.  I didn’t need the rest of the program or the fellowship.

But life has a way of throwing you a curve ball, so almost 20 years since I was first introduced to AA .On one fatal evening in March 2006, I picked up that first drink.  Going through a depression , coupled with my disease of alcoholism gave birth to the perfect storm in my mind .

In less than 4 years the disease progressed to the point of not drawing a sober breath. Nothing mattered, nothing could, I was in the grips of late stage alcoholism.

My daughter took over the role of mother to my son, and to some degree to me also. Before 2006, my children had never seen me drink, not only my life changed, so did theirs. They became my victims and the victims of this disease we call alcoholism.

Days meant nothing to me, whatever time I came to, my first thought was to take the drink I had left over, whether it was stale whiskey or warm beer, it didn’t matter.

My sister would write me, ‘why cant you stay sober for the kids?’, I was wondering the same thing. I had no answers.

I prayed to either get sober or to die. I tried going back to A.A, I got myself several sponsors. I managed not to drink for 5 months in 2009, it was horrible, my emotions were out of control, my mind could not hold on to one reasonable thought, insomnia became natural to me. Needless to say I picked up again.

After a horrible binge, Christmas 2009. I woke up one morning wanting to die, I remember logging on to an online A.A. website and telling  them I could not stop drinking. One lady asked me to add her to her instant messenger. She spent most of that day with me, just talking, telling me “ just don’t pick up for now”. I made several 24 hours talking to her, and finally I had a month of sobriety.

My friend put me to do service. It gave me a sense of duty, so I kept going back. On that same A.A. site I met my sponsor, she took me through the steps via Skype. I was in the Caribbean she was in London, it didn’t matter, all I wanted was to be sober again. Recovery didn’t come easy that second time around.

As the fog lifted I found myself in a state of limbo and chaos. I didn’t know what the future held, but I also knew the past was no longer an option.

The panic attacks were daily, I stayed in an A.A. chat room most of the night. It took months to be able to fall into a regular sleeping pattern.  What helped the most was the 24 hour plan. Just getting through the day without picking up.

I was told early on in AA that if I stuck to the program, things beyond my wildest dreams would come through. They did.  I was also told that if I ever picked up again, all the yets would come through. They did.

I saw the progression in myself, the selfishness of my disease, the hostages it took, the self loathing and much more.

Its two and half years since that December day when a total stranger spend the day with me on MSN, I will never forget her kindness.

Years ago, I would walk away from a drunk in need, today I will put down anything I am doing to help them see that no matter how dark it looks, there is always hope.

I do that not only for  them, but for me. I forgot once what it was like to be an active drunk, I don’t want to forget now, nor do I hide what I am. Alcoholism isn’t in the bottle, it’s in me.

I need to follow a set of guidelines, a design for living set in a book called Alcoholic Anonymous  to be able to live life on life’s term.

What seemed like a burden at one time, has become a daily ritual I enjoy.

Alcoholism is not only cunning, powerful and baffling its also very patient. All those years when I wasn’t thinking of alcohol, alcohol never stopped thinking about me.

I am living proof that no matter how long a person is sober, if they have crossed that invisible line into the world of addiction and pick up again, it will only get worse, never better.

I heard a priest  once speak of Hell, and wondered if he knew what Hell really was, I spend 4 years of my life there, me and my bottle. AA opened the gate and let me out. It’s my choice now whether to continue working my daily program or open that gate again. ( Anonymous)

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