***Submitted by Brenda
Hello, my name is Brenda and I’m an alcoholic.
This is how I introduce myself at A A meetings. I never thought in a million years I would be going to A A meetings.
I am 49 years old. I have been drinking for 39 of those years. I entered an inpatient rehab center in March.
The 21 days in rehab were eye opening to say the least. My in date was April 30th and my out date was May 21st. I was in there with 17 other people. I could write a book or a comedy act on the experience! I am, as of today, 4 months and a few days sober! I am alcoholic and I just cannot drink.
This is a disease. Alcoholism affects all walks of life. This disease comes with a lot of shame. If I had breast cancer there would be a pill or treatment but there is not shame attached to that disease.
In rehab, there at the same time as me, there where were university professors, attorneys, young and old. The youngest was 18 and the oldest was 82, I felt like one of the lucky ones, if there is such a thing. A lot of the people did not have a choice to come. They were court ordered because of DUI or other things. There were people addicted to alcohol; all kinds of drugs like cocaine, heroin and a lot were prescriptions. There were young mothers addicted to drugs that had had their children taken away. There were people that this was their first time in rehab, and there were some this was their fourth time.
Addictions are hard to overcome. I learned that you have to be HOW (honest, open and willing) to change. I drink because I am HALT (hungry, angry, lonely or tired), and RID (restless, irritable and discontented). I found out that I am not alone! All the people that I met at rehab and at AA meetings have the same stories and experiences. The 12 steps are based upon looking to a higher power to help when I am feeling these things.
The first step is admitting that I have a problem. I know that I can’t and shouldn’t drink. I know that I am powerless over alcohol and that my life has become unmanageable. I need to go to AA meetings, examine my faults, give up all my offences to God and find a person to tell all of my deepest secrets. It is not an easy journey, it will take work! I have always believed in a higher power, which is God to me. I need to learn to pray and accept what life is for me and be happy with what I have. I have been blessed with a loving husband and son, a beautiful home and a lot of other things. None of those things mattered when I was drinking.
I may have seemed happy on the outside, but I have been very unhappy and very insecure. A lot of addicts are that way. I need to find out how to give up all my worries to a higher power. If I look back on my life, I know I have had a problem with alcohol all my life.
My first drink was when I was 10 years old. I remember a summer that we went to visit relatives, can’t remember all the details, but there was moonshine. I drank it and got drunk. I know that having that experience turned on something in my body that craves alcohol. I am not happy with one beer or drink. I want to drink to get drunk. I was always with an excuse as to why I was drinking. I had a list of excuses to drink. I learned that they are excuses. God has given me so many chances. He has been looking over me for all my life! It is hard for others that aren’t addicted to understand. My husband would say, “Just stop drinking!” I tried, but could not on my own. The last few weeks before I went to rehab I was drinking all the time, sometimes all day. I never want to go back to that again. I know that if I take that first drink I will be right back into it all over again.
So far so good, but it is a daily battle. One day at a time!