Debbie’s Story – How I feel depends on the actions I take

My first experience of drinking was going to a friend’s party at sixteen. I was shy so when I found a bottle of sherry in her mum’s drinks cabinet I took it out and tried some. I loved the way it made me feel so I drank the whole bottle and got very drunk. I can remember trying to get home but my legs were not working properly. I eventually got home and got myself to the top of the stairs and fell straight back down again. I got to bed and awoke to a wet mattress, that is how my drinking first started.

I did not care what people thought of me as all I wanted was to get drunk and be who I wanted to be because when I was sober I was that shy awkward girl who I didn’t like. I finally found a way of blocking my true feelings and this is how I spent my teenage years.

At the age of twenty I met my first husband in a nightclub and we hit it off because of our mutual love for drinking. I fell pregnant with my first child and I knew my drinking was starting to get out of hand so I tried to cut down by not drinking daily. But when I did I got very drunk.

Once my second child arrived something changed within me. I was riddled with anxiety and the only way to cope was to take a drink. After several years of drinking alcoholically my marriage broke down and my daughter was losing interest in me which triggered me to drink and take pills even more.

This resulted in hospital with an overdose. The hospital tried to help me but all I wanted was another drink this was the insanity of my alcoholism. I discharged myself and went back home and carried on drinking wallowing in self-pity.

My sister came around and rang the AA helpline and she spoke to a lady who agreed to take me to a meeting. I genuinely thought everyone would be drunk there, but how wrong I was, everyone was so ‘normal’ and dressed well and I found it very overwhelming. I can’t remember much about that first meeting other than given a newcomer pack and ticking off most of the question. So I knew deep down I had to go back.

I received many messages from the girls at the meeting as I was scared to answer the phone. But I felt encouraged knowing I was no longer alone. The same lady that that took me to the first meeting arranged to collect me to the next meeting where I heard a message of recovery.

I got myself a Big Book and a temporary sponsor that night, the meeting was full of people chatting and laughing. These people were so happy you could tell by their eyes. I met a lot of people who shared their stories and how good their lives are as a result of working the Twelve Steps. This was the first time I identified with others about my alcoholism.

That night my recovery began and one thing I have learned is to get into good habits early in order to have happy comfortable sobriety. I went to three meetings a week and my life brightened up by putting in the actions of Alcoholics Anonymous, and for the first time in my life I loved being sober with no knots in my stomach. I put my trust in my sponsor and my higher power and I was able to live life on life’s terms.

Fast forward five years life was so good I got into a relationship and started to put AA on the back burner. In my head I thought I’m ok now I don’t need AA anymore so I left my AA meeting. I didn’t drink straight away but the day did come and I was off and running one drink after another. It was like I had never stopped.

Life took a downward spiral until I could not take any more and I was utterly convinced that I was powerless over alcohol and that my life had become unmanageable.

I am now back in my home group for the last 18 months and very grateful and lucky to get back. Today I do not take the Twelve Steps for granted, as I know the first drink is only one step away. How I feel today depends on the actions I take, for me it is the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Debbie, Road to Recovery Group Plymouth