When I was ten years of age, I was given a glass of whisky and drank it straight down. It burnt and took my breath. Throughout my drinking years I did not touch whisky again. At sixteen, I had my first experience of getting drunk. I used to work for a bottling company where my job was to put labels on bottles. I knocked off work one lunch time and proceeded to join next door’s bottle department for drinks. To this day, I cannot remember getting home.
From the age of seventeen, when I met the man of my dreams (or so I thought), until I was twenty five, a night life of social drinking and the birth of my daughter in kept me out of danger of alcoholic drinking. At the age of twenty five, we moved and I got a job as a barmaid full time. Work was hard and drinks were free behind the bar providing you didn’t get caught. I then started to show the consequences of my heavy drinking, the work, my housework, being a mother, my social life.
I was admitted to the Melbourne Clinic with the DTs (delirium tremens) and hallucinations. I spent two weeks there and was discharged on medication. Back at my doctor’s I was told to go to AA, I said, “No, I’m not an alcoholic”. I then spent from the next seven years being a top-up drunk, bender drinker, social drinker, drying-out on the wagon, then back to alcohol. I introduced myself to the morning drink. Beautiful food was bought for the fridge and my daughter and I ended up eating baked beans.
Housework was neglected, I decided all my friends were “full of bullshit”. I was stealing money from the hotel when working part-time to support my drinking habit. My great aunt had died and an inheritance from her of $20,000, was blown in six months on so-called friends, alcohol and good times.
Blackouts were now coming, thick and fast. and my girlfriend, suggested I do something so I said, “I will try AA”. Eventually, I walked alone into an AA meeting. “Keep an open mind” said one member to me. I saw the word “God” up on the Serenity Prayer and freaked. I had been brought up with a God of fear. I read the First Step and I couldn’t accept it. I paraded around the floor when it was my turn to speak, hammed up my story, lied, and all that time I was hurting inside. I still had one foot in AA and one in the pub. So I chose the pub.
I only lasted three months. I ended up in a psychiatric home again with the DTs and hallucinations. My hair looked like straw, my teeth became yellow, my eyes were bloodshot and yellow, there was weight gain, no changing clothes for days, neglecting my daughter. I was always the last to arrive at the school with my daughter, always the last to collect her after school.
Then I discovered the yellow wallet that AA had given me with their telephone number in it, I rang the office. I gave the woman who answered a cock and bull story then broke down over a wine and soda beside me. She said those magic words “Come on Friday to the meeting”. I sweated, shook for two days and then walked through the AA doors. My hand was shaken, there were no fingers pointed at me. I “shared my experiences” with a twisted mouth and bent arms which have all now gone.
After nine months of sobriety I found spirituality and my Higher Power whom I choose to call God. I have been three years sober now. I read the Big Book and the 24 Hour a Day book, pray every night for the sick alcoholic friends in the fellowship and family. I love the Steps and Traditions. I thank the founders of AA, Dr Bob and Bill W., for my life and the most important of all: meetings, meetings, meetings. My primary purpose is to help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety. I thank God for my life today. I am marrying a ten-year sober, beautiful man whom I love dearly. Thank you AA. Without you none of this would have been possible.