THAT CERTAIN SOMETHING
I was constantly looking for that 'certain something' and when I discovered alcohol I thought I'd found it. It made me feel at ease with the world, it took away the harsh edge from reality and so I drank as often as possible. I worked hard and partied harder. When I picked up that first drink it set off an insatiable craving and it was virtually impossible to stop. I would often drink to blackout and humiliate myself. I couldn't understand how other people could just have 'a few'. Moving around constantly up and down the country and abroad – setting up fresh starts everywhere. Thinking the reason I drank so much was because of the place I lived, my job, the weather…anything but me!
I spent more time in oblivion only to be jolted awake with a gasp of fear to face those hideous four horsemen – terror, bewilderment, frustration, despair. I'd be frantically searching for the hidden bottle. I was terrified of getting found out too, I felt grubby and ashamed. Wine for breakfast became the norm. I justified it by telling myself it was just a little helper to get me off to work. I would need constant 'little helpers' throughout the day. Eventually my state got so bad that it was impossible to hide. I got signed off work and the insanity took over.
My family had a really rough time with my alcoholism, particularly my mother. She tried her hardest to help me yet I showed her no respect what so ever. My mam brought me and my brother up on her own and some times were really hard, but she would always provide for us, warmth, food, clothing and plenty of love. Her unconditional love and protection for us was evident, yet the way I treat her towards the end of my drinking was vile. My alcoholism made her ill, but she stuck by me even though I tried to push her away.
No matter how much I loved people and knew right from wrong, I did what I had to do to get that drink — lying, cheating, stealing, begging for forgiveness, making pathetic promises through vodka tears. Gone went my career, home, friends, freedom…self respect. In came the chaos. Hospitals, physciatric wards, police stations and courts. Prison eventually. Once a bright young woman with potential and ambition, now a down-and-out drunk.
I really thought God was picking on me, just me. I sought comfort in self-pity and more alcohol.
Eventually, I was put on a train to a treatment centre in Plymouth by my probation officer. I felt soulless and confused. I clung to the bottle and blacked out. I had no fight left in me. I knew that this was my last chance – I would surely die or be locked up indefinitely. I would've given anything just to get well.
The detox wasn't pretty but what followed was worse. With no alcohol in my system I was crippled with raw and painful emotions – fear, anger, paranoia, guilt, shame. I loathed myself for what I'd become. I prayed to God out of desperation to take the pain away. And God must've listened because it was in that treatment centre that I found my home group of AA.
I hadn't had a drink for months but I just knew there had to be more to sobriety than 'just not drinking'. I heard in the rooms that alcoholism doesn't live in a bottle, it lives in me, and it will do its best to destroy me whether I drink or not; drinking alcohol is just its most effective agent. To fully recover I needed to treat all parts of the illness. I was offered an all-inclusive package of recovery from alcoholism. I heard about 'a spiritual awakening' and I didn't have a clue what it was but I just thought "I'll have one of them!"
I asked another sober alcoholic, who had recovered, to be my sponsor. She had something about her that I wanted. She guided my through the 12 steps exactly as they are laid out in the big book and eventually I got the spiritual awakening that was promised. It wasn't the 'kapow' that I'd expected but it's happened gradually. How do I know that? Well, for a hopeless, resentful, relapsing chronic alcoholic to suddenly be free from the slavery of alcohol isn't just a coincidence, a transformation has taken place. I have been restored to sanity!
The feeling of contentment was one I wasn't familiar because I was always dissatisfied with the life I'd been given. But today I am grateful for everything I have. When I'm connected to my Higher Power and practicing the spiritual principles, I experience a peace and serenity that is priceless. I can let go of the uncontrollable. I can trust, accept and believe.
My mother has her daughter back and we are closer than ever. She can sleep at night. I know that I will be making a life time amends to her but I'm enjoying our relationship a day at a time.
I'm so grateful to AA, God, my sponsor and my home group for helping me find that 'certain something'.