My non-binary differences didn’t matter, I recovered

I was 16 years old when I first told a counsellor about the voice in my head. The voice that second guessed every decision that I made. Telling me I’d never be good enough. And all the counsellor could give me was reassurance that it was okay to feel this way.

But it didn’t feel okay. It was painful and I was suffering. And the only thing that had any affect on how I felt was alcohol. Alcohol shut up my head. It allowed me to interact with people. Alcohol was my solution to life.

Life as a non-binary person in a society that refused to accept me. When it became apparent that I didn’t drink like other people I could justify this. If I could fix the problems with my head then I’d be able to drink like everyone else. Like a normal person. Over the years I saw various doctors and got just as little from them but I was never honest, telling lies and half truths to get what I needed and go on my way.

No matter how many hospital beds I woke up in, there was always an excuse to drink. One day I’d had enough. I could not face another drink. I logged onto the AA website and found a meeting a 10 minute walk away that started in 10 minutes time. It felt like fate. I told my partner that I was going to AA and the look of relief on their face told me I was doing the right thing.

I turned up at the church hall to find a sign on the door. The meeting was closed due to the pandemic. I got home with two bottles of wine and a bottle of whisky.

That’s the night my partner left. I spent the next 9 months drunk. My marriage ended, I lost my job and my family gave up on me. I was beaten by alcohol. No matter how drunk or high I got, only blacked out or passed out did I know peace. After 9 months of trying to drink myself to death, 9 months of waking up resenting the fact that I had woken up, I arrived back at the same church hall.

I don’t remember much of that evening. I said and did what I thought people wanted me to say or do so that they’d stop talking to me and let me leave so I could go get drunk. The next day, whilst drinking a beer I didn’t want, I got a phone call from an alcoholic. He asked me how I was and told me his story. He had been sober for almost 20 years.

I asked him to sponsor me and he said yes. I drank to blackout that night. As broken as I felt I still wasn’t willing to take action. I was given a list of simple suggestions to do each day but I couldn’t see how it was going to help. How could I call a newcomer when I was the newcomer? I had no experience, strength or hope to share. I had never prayed before.

How could I be grateful when I resented being alive? I still couldn’t stop drinking but then again I hadn’t tried. I was suffering and two alcoholics told me to pray, so I got on my knees and prayed for the first time in my life. I was desperate. And for the first time in as long as I could remember I wasn’t suffering. And in that moment I came to believe that I could be restored to sanity.

So I started working a program of recovery. A list of suggestions, daily and very quickly I felt better. Working with a sponsor showed me that I could be honest. Simple actions had a profound effect.

I began working the steps and my life which had always been unmanageable became easy. The decision to turn my will over to the care of my higher power gave me a sense of freedom. It gave me the tools to deal with life. It gave me a spiritual defence.

I am no longer a slave to alcohol. I have freedom in service and peace through action. To pray for guidance of how best I can be of service. Speaking to another, sharing experience, strength and hope.

I have recovery, in spite of my reservation that this wouldn’t work for me due to my gender. It doesn’t matter who I am, where I come from or what I did. I am alcoholic and could not manage my own life. This program gave me a conscious contact with God. A spiritual awakening gave me a change of thought and attitude. I had to change and looking back at the person I was, I am beyond grateful that I did.

Not having to hide away, in fear and resentment. Sharing this message, defined by a simple idea of what Alcoholics Anonymous is. One alcoholic sharing a message of recovery to another.

Amethyst D – Road to Recovery group, Plymouth.

February 2022