My name is Steve am I’m an alcoholic. I was born in Plymouth in 1970, life was good. My parents loved me and my sister with all their heart. At school I was a slow learner and was shy. Girls scared me so I stayed away. At 14 I had my first drink, my parents were heavy drinkers, so to me it was normal. By the time I was 25 drinking was a good part of my days, I would have 8 cans in the evening and drink at weekends out with friends. At this time I was living in Andover, Hampshire and getting married with three children and a big house. The more pressure, the more I would drink. I was a builder and a good one. I never lost a job or a friend, never took a day off work.
At 35 I was feeling down – the marriage was on a shoe-string. I started to hide cans in the garage, in cupboards everywhere. I wanted and needed more. My wife was not happy so I went to one AA meeting and sat there thinking they are mad. I went for everyone but me.
We got divorced and I left the home, I was going to drink like a gentleman and I did for about a week. I started off where I left off – the morning drink, the low self esteem – the friends walked away one by one and so did the jobs. The doctors started to worry about my drinking, fear hit me daily but I drank to get drunk.
I went into institutions – I come out one month and headed to Plymouth. My family felt for sorry for me. Me and my Dad drank so I was fine to join him, the drinking went on and got worse. Money started to go fast and my Dad’s patience. I could not stop I was powerless, you AA’s had it spot on. I came to a meeting and I left – I just felt like a loser and I was. My Dad showed me the front door and I left, I was on my own, no wife, no children, no family.
I met people like me – losers, we gravitated to drinking in parks, sleeping in door ways, eating out of bins. I needed alcohol every waking moment so I stole out of shops in town, I would run out with 3 bottles of wine – that was me, a low bottom alcoholic. I was going yellow and 3 stone underweight. What a loser – my AA friends were right it never gets better. It was bad, I snapped I had to stop so I went and saw my parents. I said “dad I need help please help me.” The doctor put me on detox of eight cans, 6 cans down to no cans over a week.
I come home to AA and got a sponsor, working the steps going to meetings everyday for 6 months. I had to change, and God I did. My life got brighter the sky became bluer all because it needed to. I saw my children after a month and got a job. After two months I was on step 4 with my sponsor and it got better, my life got better. I got a car. When I got to step 8 I was on fire, it really works. Making amends to my family, my ex-wife and her family. Doing the things like praying to my God, gratitude for what I have – like true friends in my life, Alcoholics Anonymous and the freedom from King Alcohol.
Today I put AA into all my affairs before everything else. My sponsor always said the best years of my existence lie ahead, and his sponsor says always keep dancing when the music stops. I live my life a free man today, but I must keep living it by the programme, the 12 steps and the wisdom to know the difference.
Steve, Road to Recovery Group, Plymouth