My name is Chris and I’m an alcoholic. I truly hope that whoever reads this, might do the same as me and countless others and go through the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. They have changed my life completely.
My first proper drink was at the age of fourteen and I loved it from the start. I couldn’t believe how could it made me feel. I gave me this fantastic warm glow right through me and I didn’t have a care in the world. This was a total change to how I normally felt. My usual thoughts and feelings were about what people thought of me and worrying whether or not they liked me. But with this feeling that alcohol gave me, I didn’t give a damn about anyone.
From then on, I started to do anything to get alcohol. I started to steal form my parents and shops. I used and manipulated all my family and friends for what I could get from them. This continued for a couple of years until I began to get very fearful of the world around me. Even a trip to the shops became a nightmare. I would be alright back in the safety of my own room after a few drinks. That warm glow would come back and I would feel safe and happy again.
By this time, my life was slowly turning into a complete nightmare and I couldn’t understand how I had ended up like this. Over the next seven or so years, I got more and more miserable and lonely. I wasn’t able to look people in the eyes and my parents had become like complete strangers to me. The paranoia and the panic attacks were getting worse. But I still had my drink and its comfort.
All this changed the day that I became a father and I was no longer able to hide away and drink any longer. I had to become this strong and responsible father. I just couldn’t do it though. I didn’t know how to do life sober and I would always pick up a drink. By this time the drink wasn’t working and I was not able to find that release anywhere. I became violent and angry. I would smash the house up and cause misery for everyone around me. Then I would sober up and say how sorry I was and how it would never happen again.
The cycle would start all over again. It felt like people were walking all over me and treating me like a joke. I would fill up with resentments and anger and have to pick up that first drink to stop all the pain. The violence would start once more. I was eventually put on medication, but I still continued to drink. I was becoming a complete wreck. I would wake up in the morning with my head racing, convinced that something terrible was going to happen. I could find no comfort or release and was in complete despair. One day I phone AA and would love to say that was the moment that everything changed. It wasn’t because I would turn up to meetings just as they started and leave as soon as they ended. I didn’t change and I was still that angry miserable person that I always was. Eventually, after three more weeks of more pain, I decided to do it someone else’s way. I got myself one of those Sponsors and I can honestly say that my life has never been the same since.
As a direct result of getting a Sponsor and taking the 12 Steps, I have had a complete change in thought and attitude. Drink is no longer a problem. My life has completely changed around and shot off in the other direction. A whole new world has come into view. Today I have purpose and direction in my life, where it used to be meaningless and dull.
It has been nearly 3 years since coming to AA and my life is amazing. My partner and two boys are back in my life today. I have so many friends and its all down to getting a Sponsor and doing what countless others have done before me.
Chris D, Road to Recovery, Plymouth, Nov 2007