- Friends & Family
submitted by: Susanne Johnson
My name is Carol and I’m an alcoholic.
I finally found recovery after years of abusing alcohol and making everyone around me truly miserable. I have been truly blessed with the gift of sobriety and my recovery is the most important thing in my life – without my recovery I know would lose everyone and everything I care deeply about.
My parents don’t really drink and alcohol was rare in our home when I was growing up. As a teenager I would try to get alcohol along with my friends. We often succeeded and I would enjoy a furtive drink or two. As I got older and was allowed to legally drink I would often get drunk on a night out with friends. I would always vow never to drink that much again. But, inevitably I always did.
In my mid-twenties I was convicted for drink-driving. At the time, I put it down to a late teenage rebellion, but I can now see that my alcoholism was just beginning to take off. I was fortunate that I only drove drunk the once before I was caught. I could so easily have maimed or killed someone.
In 1991 I met and fell in love with a truly wonderful man. We are still together almost 25 years on. We started to work together at his computer company and we would often go out for lunch and then get back and carry on working. Without fail, we always had something alcoholic to drink with our meal. After lunch, I used to use breath freshener so the clients wouldn’t detect alcohol on my breath.
In 1994, we set up home together and we were blissfully happy. We never had an argument and just loved living and working together. It couldn’t have been more perfect and we were both blissfully happy.
I remember in the late 1990s wondering if I was drinking too much. So, I decided not to have a drink that day. I didn’t drink, but I obsessed about my next drink. But, as I managed a full day without alcohol I couldn’t have a problem, could I?
In 2002, we started to argue. The arguments got more frequent and mostly happened because of the amount I was drinking. My boyfriend drinks, but he doesn’t have a problem with alcohol. It couldn’t have been very pleasant for him going to bed night after night with someone who was nearly always drunk. The following mornings were a nightmare– I would be dreadfully hungover and he would be sad and angry with me. I would always vow never to get drunk again, and I always meant it. But, invariably I would become drunk again.
In 2004 I started going to a 12-step gathering. I stayed for 8 weeks and didn’t have a drink. Life got so much better very quickly. But, I convinced myself that I wasn’t an alcoholic and could drink normally. That’s when the worst 18 months of my life began!
My boyfriend left me as he couldn’t take any more of my drinking. I concluded that when he had gone and stopped causing fights with me that I wouldn’t need to drink as much. But, I was so very wrong. My drinking completely spiraled out of control and I felt powerless to do anything about it. I would drink every single day and end the day completely drunk and incoherent.
I had the worst hangovers that I could imagine; I fell in a drunken state one night and broke three ribs. I discovered what it was like to really have the shakes. I stopped seeing my friends as they interfered with my drinking. I couldn’t remember where I had been the evening before or who I had spoken to. I would check to see that my skin had not turned yellow every morning. I couldn’t remember things I had done, or people I had spoken to. I constantly obsessed about getting my next drink. I lived almost permanently in blackout.
My rock bottom happened in November 2005. I didn’t want to live any more, but I was frightened of dying. I couldn’t imagine life either with or without alcohol. It was the most wretched state I have ever been in and I would not wish it on anyone. It was the loneliest, most depressing and black place to be.
So, I picked up the phone and went to an 12-step meeting the next day. It was the best thing I could have done and I am truly grateful. I was met, once again, with open arms. People were genuinely pleased to see me back and offered me help, advice and support. For the first time in a very long time I didn’t feel alone any more. I was with people who understood exactly how I was feeling and what I had been through. I could relate to these people and wanted what they had– freedom from the addiction of alcohol.
My life now is so very different from how it was when I was drinking. One of my biggest frustrations is that I cannot put into words how amazing and truly wonderful sobriety is. I now have my self-respect and pride back; I have completed a university degree in addiction studies. People trust me now and rely on me; my whole outlook on life has changed beyond my wildest dreams. I participate in life and I enjoy every single sober day that I have been given to the very maximum.
My boyfriend and I are back together and just as happy as we always were. He accepts me totally for who I am and is so supportive and encouraging of me.
In February 2016 I will celebrate my tenth sober birthday. I shall spend the day with my recovery friends who have been there to support me and help me through the rough times. These are the people who saved my life. In the 12-step fellowship, I have made life-long friends who simply want the best for me and to see me happy.
Life today really is beyond my wildest dreams. I am free to do whatever I choose– and, today, I choose not to drink. Life isn’t always perfect and I have been through some dark days but I have not drank. I don’t need to drink today. Today, I am content with who I am and I don’t need to hide behind an alcoholic haze.
My boyfriend has very recently been diagnosed with cancer. He will start his treatment soon and we are praying for the best possible outcome for him. I am just so truly grateful to be sober so that I can support him and be there for him when he needs me. He is my rock, and I have become his again.
If anything that I have said has made you question your drinking, then why not seek some help? You have nothing to lose and everything to gain! Getting help for my drinking problem was the very best thing that I have ever done. One day at a time recovery is possible!