Externally Popular

My name is Ryan and I’m an alcoholic. This is my story:

I was born in Liverpool and my childhood was one of good memories. I had loving parents who always did the best they could by me and I always got pretty much what I wanted.

I was a popular lad at school but didn’t feel that way internally. I was sensitive, self-centred and introvert. My first passion was football. My Nan and Grandad used to take me to the local pub called the Orient (The big O) from about the age of 8 to watch Liverpool play on the big screen. I was attracted to the atmosphere in the in the pub. There was laughter, smoke, and everyone seemed to be having a really good time. I remember thinking I can’t wait to be older so I can drink.

My ambition was to be a professional football a goalkeeper and I was in fact a good goalkeeper. I remember playing for the school football team and then having trails for Liverpool school boys and was selected to be the first-choice keeper and I felt as though I had arrived as Bill W speaks about in his story. I also had trails for Liverpool (The Academy) and played in a Merseyside Derby for Everton. Life was great at this point I developed an ego and I hadn’t known fear or failure.

I remember it was the last game of the season when I was playing for Liverpool school boys and we were playing against the Wirral and whoever won that game was going to win the league title. As I was warming up and had this overwhelming sense of fear. I remember thinking what if I make a mistake and cost us the league. I had never experienced this before and I remember going to my manger to saying I felt sick and the second-choice keeper replaced me and played a blinder and we won and we won the league.

I then had the same experience when I played for Liverpool academy and I was called up to play against Manchester United in Kirby (The base of Liverpool academy) and again I pulled out because of nervousness and fear of making a mistake. I was Released and this broke my heart. I remember crying saying to my family that I would never be playing football again because I was a failure, I was shit, and I wasn’t good enough.

At age 16 I discovered alcohol and cocaine and alcohol and cocaine changed my perception of reality. It fixed those feelings of fear, inadequacy, of being a failure. Alcohol and cocaine made me feel normal, at ease, powerful, whole. I remember saying to myself I’m going to drink as often as I can and snort as often as I can because I want to keep feeling the way it made me feel. I know today that I was drinking and using for the effect produced and not for pleasure as is speaks about the in (Doctors Opinion).

My life totally revolved around drinking and using and finding ways and means to get more. Every job I had I lost as a direct result of my drinking and using. Every romantic relationship I had went because of my drinking and using. And every college attempt or means of trying to better my life failed because of my drinking and my using.

I came to my first meeting at age 16 In Liverpool it’s was the men’s meeting on Rodney street and my uncle twelve stepped me. When I arrived at the meeting, I instantly knew I was in the right place. People were speaking about me, my life, my experiences. They were speaking my language.

I have tried every means to get clean and sober and they have all failed. Treatment centres, moving towns, different fellowships, different sponsors, different ways of taking the steps, counselling and it all failed.

It all failed because I didn’t have step one and I was not allowing myself to be sponsored because I still thought I could manage my own life successfully.

I loved the idea of getting clean and sober and sorting out my life and believe me it wasn’t for the want of trying. I have been in and out of Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12 steps fellowships for 16 years and the only thing I did right was I kept coming back to meetings.

On the 1st of September 2020 after coming to from a 7-day bender and wanting to die. I lay on my bed and I cried out “If there is a God please help me, I can’t do this anymore” I had lost my family, I hadn’t seen my little boy for almost a year and I was hanging onto my job by a thread. I couldn’t string a few days sober towards the end of my drinking and using because I was in the grip of alcoholism which is more powerful than me and anything, I try to combat it with.

You see surrender was something that had to happen to me. It was something that I couldn’t bring about myself and I now know what it means when people in my Home Group say “ I have step one” a term which I used to hate being shared.

I messaged my sponsor and asked for help again and I logged into the Tuesday night meeting on zoom half cut but I knew I was done. I made the decision that I was going to come back to Alcoholics Anonymous and do everything that AA suggests even when things don’t feel comfortable and I wasn’t going to run away.

What have I done since to maintain my sobriety in this short period of time (11 weeks) which if you know me is a miracle.

I started following the “Daily Plan”

And started taking the indicated actions. This started to treat my alcoholism and started to give me relief from myself.

I have attended at least one meeting a day since I have been back as there is a lot of power in meetings (Fellowship).

I then worked through the steps and the miracle had happened, the obsession for alcohol and drugs was removed (as it speaks about in the tenth step promises) and this happened pretty quickly.

I am not the perfect example of Alcoholics Anonymous and the program doesn’t come naturally to me. I have to work at this program daily and I have to work it hard to just about enable me to live with myself, let alone be happy, joyous and free, and I keep showing up in fair weather and foul and my willingness has remained.

But I know that if I continue to show up for life a day at a time, continue to place Alcoholics Anonymous and my recovery at the centre of my life, stick close to my sponsor who has suffered me for years and never gave up on me, and most Importantly I trust and rely upon my God I will continue to stay clean and sober. My Job today is to try and be the best example of Alcoholics Anonymous and my Home Group that I can be and to ask God to remove my fear of sharing so I can be of maximum service to Him and those who are newer than me and are suffering and who have struggled for years. I know what that’s like and I believe this is where I can be uniquely useful to other relapsers in recovery.
Ryan D, Road to Recovery Group, Plymouth.
November 2020