Hello my name is Jean and I am a recovering alcoholic. I am one of the lucky alcoholics who lived to tell my story. Without the grace of God and the program of AA, I would have died.
I started drinking very early and was very popular with my high school crowd as “the life of the party”. I could always drink everyone I was with. What started as fun ended up in hell. My drinking continued through high school and business school and then to the first law firm I worked for.
At the time, my drinking was pretty well under control; I was young, I had the stamina to get drunk every night and work every day, and the vicious cycle went on and on. I really don’t like “Drunkalogs” so I’ll try to be brief and say: I’ve been married several times, had very prestigious jobs, meaning I worked in various law firms for a senator and a debt restructuring judge and Lt. Governor’s Office. I had a lovely home and a husband whom I thought I loved at the time; and especially my lovely children.
The blackouts began
Well, this man didn’t love me as much as I thought; he did the right thing; He took my children with him, drove me out of my beautiful home and divorced me. I still hadn’t reached the bottom. I could still drink someone; and by then, of course, the blackouts had started.
Believe me, I tried to blame everyone and everything I knew for my drinking. the death of my child, ex-husbands, etc. Everyone but me was responsible for my drinking. The blackouts were a blessing in some ways. I don’t want to remember some of those times.
Finally, of course, the time came when I could no longer work; I had to drink alcohol every few hours or so every day. My life was a total hell. There were so many days when I could only look out the window to see if it was daylight or darkness.
Meet the alcoholic
This, my friends, no living person would ever want to go through. Of course, there came a time when there was no money to rent an apartment or anything other than the few dollars I withheld for my alcohol. Thank goodness for the recent blackout – I got into a room with a quarter on the dresser in the room.
Thank goodness my family practiced “Tough Love”. None of my family members would let me into their homes; This was bottom-out time. I looked in the yellow pages of the phone book and found the number for AA.
The alcohol had stopped working
Within a few minutes a lady and a gentleman from Alcoholics Anonymous were there. None of them seemed shocked by the few things I told them. I was so sure that my story was unique. I was so sure that I was unique. Little did I know, but I was just an alcoholic willing to do anything in the world to change my life.
These people picked me up, carried me to my first AA meeting, and many other people started working with me and detoxing me. I’ve never been so sick, mentally and physically. But after that, I learned that even my worst sober day was better than my best drunk day. The liquor had stopped working for me. There was no longer a “high” or a good feeling.
I want to tell you I stopped there, but after a year of sobriety, I decided that I could possibly still be a sociable drinker. God what a disaster. What I’ve always been told in the AA program is that this disease is so very progressive even when you are sober, and I’ve certainly seen it. After my first or second drink, I went straight into a power outage. So my insane alcohol consumption had started all over again.
I am so grateful to my Higher Power and to those who still believed in me. I was one of the lucky ones to “make it back”. It was so hard to go back to AA’s door and start over and pick up a new chip.
But I did. To hell with false pride – I was ready to stop drinking. Otherwise I was sentenced to an asylum or death. I am pleased to announce that I have just picked up my 17 year old sobriety chip. I could never have done it alone. I need to have all of you, my brothers and sisters, to remind me of who I am and this is Jean, an alcoholic who has to kill himself one day at a time to stay sober.
There have been many setbacks in my life, but thank God I didn’t have to drink. Seems like the past year was my hardest; I broke my back, lost a husband I really loved, and had a complete nervous breakdown. But I still haven’t drunk.
Every day is like a new day for me now; Sometimes I feel like I don’t know exactly which direction I’m going, but I know, as long as I stay sober, the direction will become clear sooner or later. I have the privilege of working in a detox unit and it is a great feeling to share my experience, strength and hope with another suffering person.
I hope that in this way at some point I can only help one person to find their way to the only program in the world that has worked for me. the Program for the Living, Alcoholics Anonymous. Thank goodness for Bill W. and Dr. Bob, our co-founder. What would we have done if their paths hadn’t crossed?
I don’t have everything I want right now, but I have everything I need and it has been proven to me by my Higher Power and the steps and traditions of that program and all of the great people in this program that this thing is works. There are many things I would like to change in my life, but I have a feeling that if they are supposed to change, it will happen.
I have my children back, with the exception of one child who is out there who is a practicing “addict”. I can’t do anything for him but pray. I’ve carried it to many meetings with me so it has been exposed and it’s up to him whether he wants to live or die. It’s that simple. There’s no in between.
Finally, I want to tell each of you, those of you who I don’t know, that I love you. We have the same disease and we know what to do in life. We have a choice today. And isn’t that wonderful? Some people with illness have no choice. I have received the gift of sobriety; I love life without alcohol; I love to have my coffee on my back stairs and watch the birds in the morning. simple things that no one else would consider so important.
I find that I can make clear decisions even though they don’t always have the desired result. What else can i say I am a grateful alcoholic whose name is Jean L. and every day is a new awakening because I’ve been given another chance and I can’t let alcohol destroy my life.
That is the reason why I have to stay active in this program and always have to remind myself who I am, where I have been and where I never want or have to go again. Thank you for letting me share my story with you.