I Have Hope Today -- Recovering from alcoholism
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"Life is a storm my young friend.  You will bask in the sunlight one moment...be shattered on the rocks the next.  What makes you who you are is what you do when that storm comes.” --Edmund Dantes (from The Count of Monte Cristo) Success Stories If you have a success story that you'd like to share on this web site, please submit it.  You can always remain anonymous.  These contributions are from various people who have visited our web site and wish to share their stories in order to help others. A Story by a Daughter about her Father My father will be fifty-eight this year.  Several months ago, my mother and father began arguing a lot.  Finally, one day, my mother confided to me that my father, the man I had looked up to and had often told people was the smartest person I know, was an alcoholic.  It took my mother threatening to leave him for him to finally quit, after God knows how many years.  But he's doing it.  He's like a whole new person now.  He's happier, and he's lost weight too.  He never went to Al-Anon or anything.  He just stopped drinking.  He made a choice, and stuck to it.  And now, he's my dad again. A Reflection by a Man in his Early 30's There has been too many times that I look back on my life and regret the episodes I have had when I was intoxicated.  If I can influence any teenager to stop and think before ruining your life with alcohol, I would, because it sure did ruin mine. Angela's Story My story started when I was 12 years old and was out with my sister and her friends.  I used to hang out with her because she was always being left to take care of me.  It was the night before my birthday and we were over at her friend's house.  I was at her friend's table with an older friend of my sister's when he asked me how old I was, and I told him my birthday was the next day.  Well, he brought out a bottle of whiskey and grabbed a shot glass and told me that I couldn't go anywhere until we were done with the bottle.  I ended up getting so drunk that night that I did some really stupid and crazy things before passing out.  When I awoke the next morning, I had a big headache and I felt like crap. The funny thing was that that was the FIRST day of the rest of my life...well, not really the rest of my life but for the next few years.  I started hanging out with my sister more and more until I established a friendship with her friends.  My sister was 18 at the time, and I had just turned 13 but wanted to be a part of the older crowd.  I ended up hanging out with these friends for the next few years and would go to the bar with them and loved to go hang out in the bars. I was never asked for ID because I was with these people and the bartenders and bouncers thought I was old enough. By the time I was 15 years old, I was living in the bars from the time that the bar opened at 11 a.m. until it closed at 3 a.m.  It didn't matter if I had money or not because I knew how to get money (through sex or playing pool for money), and I had no problems getting money from somewhere.  I also hung out with people who didn't mind getting sexual favors from me and then buying me drinks all night.  By the time I turned 16 years old, I was so caught up in drinking that I soon lived over the bar with a waitress who was one of my best friends.  I would wake up every morning reaching for the bottle and would go to sleep or pass out with a bottle in my hands.  I went from being a straight A student to a dropout by the time I got to high school.  I never looked at dropping out as anything but getting in the way of my drinking and didn't care that I quit school.  I had no goals or inspirations to continue with school because it was too hard for me to concentrate on school when all I wanted was a drink.  I had to have alcohol surging through my system all 24 hours of the day, and if I didn't, I would get really shaky and feel like my insides were going to burst. My life stayed on a continuous roller coaster ride of getting drunk by early morning and staying drunk all through the day until I passed out.  I would wake up in places that I didn't or couldn't remember how I got there and often woke up with a stranger in bed with me.  I was a complete and total mess, I didn't have a life, and I didn't care about anything but alcohol. It wasn't until I found out that I was pregnant at 22 years old that I started thinking about trying to quit drinking, at least until I gave birth.  I was so messed up for the first two weeks that I quit drinking that I went through horrible days of vomiting, headaches, nausea, and diarrhea or constipation.  I wanted to die because the chills, the shakes, and the hallucinations were making me want to kill myself.  I ended up being hospitalized for three months so that the doctors could try to wean me off alcohol and the damage it was doing to me.  Once I had the baby, I gave him up for adoption, (as I wasn't able to care for him since I was too messed up), and went right back to drinking for a couple more years.  At 24, I found myself pregnant again, and this time I was determined to quit drinking and make a life for me and the baby.  I admit that I wasn't that healthy when I got pregnant the second time because my meals consisted of alcohol and smoking so I rarely had anything to eat or drink besides alcohol. I was able to quit drinking by the time I had my baby girl and it was having her that made me want to change my life around.  She gave me a reason to stay sober, to get healthy, and to make something of myself.  I did everything the doctor told me to do, I ate like a horse during my pregnancy because I didn't want to have a small baby, and I read every parenting book so I would know what I had to do to take care of her.  It was a really hard road back to life and living, but it was well worth the effort, the hard work, and the nightmare that I made of my life when I was drinking.  I have been sober for 12 years now and although I still have cravings, I realize that having one drink is not going to be enough and a thousand won't satisfy me either.  So I have chosen to stay away from alcohol and not even try a sip of anything because I am an alcoholic and will be one for the rest of my life.  I have fought a hard battle and won but that doesn't mean that I am able to pick up an alcoholic drink and be strong, it just means that I now realize what I can and can't do, and I live with it everyday. If I learned anything from this experience, it is that drinking is only a part time fix for anything that you might be going through and doesn't get rid of problems as easily as you think.  It is only a temporary fix and can result in a life where you are always in the bottle and not able to see past the end of that bottle.  If I could do it all over again with the knowledge I have now, I would have drank more sensibly and wouldn't have tried to drown my problems using this self-destructive way.  I would rather have known all about the effects of alcohol on a person's entire life than to have gone through the shit I have.  IT is NOT worth the effort to drink, whether it's to fit in or to appear cool, the long-term is not worth the short term fun.  I suggest that if you are going to drink, drink sensibly, and always have someone sober driving for you.  I happened to be a lucky person because I never killed anyone while I was drinking and driving.  But if I had to tell teens or adults what was the worst about drinking, I would have to say that it would most definitely be:  that no problems can be solved, no life can be improved, and no happiness can be made by using alcohol or abusing it.  If you want true happiness, love yourself, and respect the body you have because it is the ONLY one you will get and you should treat it like it's the most important thing in your life.  Thank you. Jean's Story I tried to blame everyone and everything.  Hello, my name is Jean and I am a recovering alcoholic. I am one of the fortunate alcoholics who has lived to tell my story. But for the grace of God and the program of AA, I would have died. I started drinking at a very early age and was very popular with my high school crowd as "the life of the party". I could always out-drink everyone who I was with. What started out as fun ended in living hell. My drinking continued through high school and into business college and then into the first law office in which I worked. At that time, my drinking was fairly 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 will try to be brief and say:  I was married several times, held very prestigious jobs, like working in various law firms, for a state Senator, a Probate Judge, and the Lt. Governor's office. I had a beautiful home and a husband who I thought I loved at the time; and most of all, my beautiful children. Well, this husband didn't love me as much as I thought; he did the right thing; he took my children, he booted me out of my beautiful home, and he divorced me. I STILL had not bottomed out. I could still out-drink anyone around; 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, the ex-husbands, etc. Everyone was responsible for my drinking except me. The blackouts were, in a way, a blessing. 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 have my daily fix of alcohol every few hours or so. My life was a total living hell. There were so many days when all I could do was look out my window to see if it was daylight or dark. That, my friends, is something that no living human being would ever want to go through. Of course, eventually the time came when there was no money for apartment rent, or for anything, except the few dollars I kept back for my booze. Thank God for the final blackout -- I came to in a room with a quarter on the dresser in the room. Thank God my family practiced "TOUGH LOVE". None of my family would allow me in their homes; this was bottom out time. I looked in the yellow pages of the phone book and found the number for AA. Within minutes, a lady and gentleman from AA were there. Neither of them seemed shocked by the few things I told them. I was so sure my story was unique from anyone else's story. I was so sure I was unique. Little did I know but I was simply an alcoholic, one who was ready to do anything in the world to change my life. These people took me in, carried me to my first AA meeting, and lots of other people started working with me and detoxing me. I have never been so sick, mentally and physically. But I learned after that, that even my worst day sober was better than my best day drunk. The liquor had stopped working for me. There was no more "high," or good feeling. I would like to tell you that I stopped there, but after one year of sobriety, I decided I possibly could still be a social drinker. God, what a disaster. What I was always told in the AA program was that this disease is so very progressive, even when you are sober, and sure enough I lived to find that out. After my first or second drink, I went straight into a blackout. So my insane bout of drinking had started all over again. I am so grateful to my Higher Power and to those that still believed in me, that I was one of the lucky ones who "made it back". It was so hard to walk back into that door of AA and start over and pick up a new chip. But I did. To hell with false pride - I was ready to quit drinking. Otherwise, I was doomed for an insane asylum or death. I am happy to tell you that I have just picked up my 17 year sobriety chip. Never could I have made it alone. I have to have all of you, my brothers and sisters, to remind me of who I am, and that is, Jean, a recovering alcoholic who must take life one day at a time in order to stay sober. There have been many setbacks in my life, but thank God I have not had to take a drink. Seems that this past year has been my hardest; I broke my back, lost a husband I truly loved, and had a complete nervous breakdown. But I STILL DID NOT DRINK. Every day is like a new day to me now; sometimes I feel as if I don't quite know which direction I am going, but I know as long as I stay sober, the direction will sooner or later become clear. I have the privilege of being able to do some work in a detox unit, and its such a great feeling to share my experience, strength, and hope with another suffering human being. I hope, in doing so that somewhere down the line, I may help just 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 God for Bill W. and Dr. Bob, our co-founders. Whatever would we have done had their paths not crossed. I don't have everything in the world I want right now, but I do have everything that I need, and it has been proven to me by my Higher Power and the Steps and Traditions of this program and all the great people in this program, that this thing does work. There are many things I would like to change in my life, but I feel if it is meant for them to change, it will happen. I do have my children back, with the exception of one child who is out there, and is a practicing "addict". There is nothing I can do for him, except pray. I have carried him to many meetings with me, so he has been exposed, and it is up to him as to whether he chooses to live or die. It is that simple. There is no in between. I want to end by telling each of you, those of you who I don't know, that I love you. We share the same disease and we know what we have to do in life. We have a choice today. And isn't that wonderful? Some people with diseases don't have a choice. I have been given the gift of sobriety; I love life without alcohol; I enjoy so much drinking my coffee on my back steps and watching the birds in the morning; simple things that nobody else would think is that important. I find that I can make clear decisions, even though they don't always have the outcome I would like. What more can I say? I am a grateful alcoholic whose name is Jean L. and every day is a new awakening, because I have been given another chance; and I must not let alcohol destroy my life. That is the reason I have to stay active in this program and always remind myself of who I am, where I have been, and where I never want and don't have to go again. Thank you for allowing me to share my story with you. "I Will Never Be That's" Story Hi, I just wanted to share a few things with you all about my life, where I came from, and where I am today. I was born on July 24, 1956 at Hamilton AFB, California. I was one of six children, five girls and one boy...(Poor guy, huh?) We traveled quite a bit from base to base, but eventually we ended up at Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta, Georgia......the place that I call home today. Throughout my life I witnessed abuse, alcoholism in progress, and I just knew that I "would never be like that!" My father is an alcoholic and my mother wasn't strong enough to walk away. I learned how to comfort my mother and I knew how high to jump when dad said jump. But most of all, I knew how to hide my feelings, my embarrassment, my guilt, my fear, and my pain from all those who knew me. I was that "happy" person who always had a smile on my face..... I went through my school years knowing that I was not really accepted by those that I thought were "really cool" but I pretended that I was just as good, and that it didn't really matter to me, and I just kept smiling......on the outside! But deep inside, I wanted so badly to be like everyone else....so sure of themselves and always knowing the right thing to say or to do. I became somewhat of a class clown; (sound familiar?) I realize that we weren't all class clowns, but I think we all had some way of being noticed. For me, I knew how to be funny! At least I thought I was. Today I wonder if they were laughing with me or at me. The great part is, I really don't care today. Moving a little further on, I knew as I was becoming an adult that I was different from other people. I didn't really understand why, but I knew that my life was just not as wonderful as theirs seemed to be. I felt as though I was worth the kind of life that I thought others had, but somehow I just didn't feel like they did. After graduating from high school, I got a phone call from a basketball coach to inform me that Valdosta State University (which was a college at the time) was forming their first girl's basketball team the next year and asked if I was interested in playing. (I played in high school.) Oh yes, this would make me "somebody." I just knew it. So, I started college, but really because of the fame that playing ball would give me. I would be just like everybody else then. I also started working as a bartender at a really nice place in town, so I was important to all those "social drinkers" (LOL) too. The day before our very first VSC girls basketball game I tore a ligament in my leg while doing wind sprints. Well, there goes the fame!! I completed my first year of college and then decided that I was making enough money bartending and didn't need a career. I was still very adamant about "not drinking," because again I was never going to be like that. I would never be like my father. I was a good bartender.....matter of fact my boss told me he'd put me up against any bartender in the country. I knew how to excel at anything that I did. Then came the dreaded "relationship" era....I didn't know much about that because I never dated in high school. I was just a tall, skinny, basketball player who spent my time after school riding my horse....did I mention that I was a barrel racer? Sold my horse during my "college basketball priority!" Anyway, my first relationship was pretty good. He was a nice guy and he loved me. Was going to marry me even! (smile) Well, you know with every "first" relationship there comes a "first" disagreement. I remember it so well....it was as though I had no idea how to react....no idea whatsoever. He sat in the bar that I was working at with "another girl" and I thought that I was supposed to at least react. I started thinking about how I should feel, and suddenly my mind went to TV....you know the story....they fight, they break up, someone gets drunk and throws the glass across the room in anger.....That's it, that's what I'll do! I fixed the most powerful drink (with a fruity flavor so I could tolerate the taste), and then I went into the "closed" kitchen and sat on a barstool and drank, and drank, and drank.....Then it was time for the big moment.....I stood up, threw the glass across the kitchen to watch it shatter against the wall. Okay, now I should "feel" something. Well, I don't recall it, but I must have "felt" the floor because that's where my boyfriend found me. Passed out in the kitchen on the floor. Glad I missed that one! I could have hurt myself, huh? It's funny, but right then I knew that I had to find out how to do this thing called alcohol. That was my first drug of choice. Over the years, many "abusive" relationships (funny how we always seemed to find someone just like dad) and three engagements, I knew something just wasn't right. These guys "loved?" me, yet they could abuse me, and I didn't really understand it, but I was just like mom. Not strong enough to walk away. I guess I just wasn't good enough for anything more than that either. After I was "strong" enough to leave the third man that I was engaged to, I became a "single" person and was loving it. Did what "I" wanted and when I wanted to. I was awoken about 4 a.m. one morning by the hospital. A friend of mine was in an accident and she requested that they call me. She was one of my waitresses and had no family here. I had only been to bed for about 2 hours at the time. Well, I ended up being up all night long and all day and then had to go to work. I was so very tired. One of the bartenders that I worked with was on prescription diet pills and told me to take one, that it would help. Well, I had never done "drugs" and just as before, "I would never do that," but she convinced me that it would not make me feel as though I was "on" something, but would only wake me up. "WOW" was I awake. I was so energetic and very impressed. I knew how to do "alcohol" very well, and now I needed to know how to do this. I ended up staying up all night again, but this time it was because of this "energy pill" and the next day I returned to work "needing another one" in order to stay awake. After about 3 days of this she told me "you can't do this!" Oh, but I didn't, remember? You can't give me something to keep me up and then just take them away! I was actually "desperate" and this feeling was very new to me. She refused to let me have anymore. This was my very first (and only) experience with theft. I went into the closet where our purses were and "took" some of her pills. I only took half of one in order to be able to sleep that night. I did sleep and was fine at work the next night, but all I could think about were those pills that were "now mine" sitting in my purse. I started taking them just for that extra boost of energy. (Like I needed it or something.) After they were gone, and knowing that somewhere deep inside I just couldn't "steal" hers again, I asked around for some speed. Bought a bottle from someone with 800 RJS's for $80.00.....What a bargain....only 10 cents a piece. Hmmmmm....everyone was paying $1.00 for these things. I can make some money here too. I began "living" on these pills and although my mind said "go, go, go," my body finally said "STOP!" I was fortunate to have friends at my apartment at the time and the paramedics were called to "revive" me. My first "second chance" at life was given to me. But I didn't think about it that way back then. All I knew then was that I would have to find a "different" drug because this one was killing me. So, off to search for something new. I'll skip on past, but during the next few years I continued to search for something to make me feel important....one drug after the other, one sexual encounter after the other, whatever it took to feel loved. I didn't realize how much guilt I was building up inside and that the day would come that I would "BE" somebody that was worthy and I'd have to look back upon all of this in order to come to terms with it. I eventually met a man who was playing keyboards in a band. He was gentle and kind and since singing was my "dream" in life, we connected pretty easily. I started singing with the band and loving life. The day he asked me to marry him, I knew right then that I was going to be okay.....this guy would never treat me like the others and that was a good enough reason for me. We married and soon had our first child. Things were real good. I still drank a lot though. That part didn't change. After my bartending job, I would go out to the club where he played and would drink until he finished for the night. But we were productive members of society.....(are we laughing yet?) We did cocaine on special occasions (i.e. birthday, anniversary, etc.), but that bottle was always there at my fingertips when I wanted it. All of our friends did a lot of cocaine, but we were different....only on "special" occasions for us. Eventually the place that I had bartended for 9 years closed. The owner was just tired of it and wanted to take a break. I went to work for another place, but during that time a new company bought the building and had plans of making a five star restaurant and lounge out of it. Because I had run the lounge in that building for so long, the new owners, after hearing repeatedly "you need Jami here," came to the place that I was working and offered me more money and "get this," a cadillac company car......Man, a bartender with a "company car?" They had been watching me work for a few days and decided to give me an offer I couldn't refuse. So, I hired my husband to put together a different type of band to suit a five star lounge. Tuxedos, upright bass, keyboard, drums, and trumpet. The right type of look with the right type of music. It was going well in the beginning, but eventually the prices for "5-star" was just too much for our town, and suddenly the doors were locked, the owners had disappeared, and I was a few thousand dollars (in back pay) in the hole. By this time we had 2 children, and we were both out of work. That's when the real trouble started. A friend of my husbands told him, "You're always coming to me for cocaine for someone else, so why don't you just buy some and sell it for profit until you both find jobs!" You know, just something to put food on the table until we both got back to work somewhere. Well folks, this was the beginning of the end (or was it possibly my "true" beginning at life??) Suddenly this drug that we only did on special occasions was sitting in our home 24 hours a day . I won't go into the next 18 months, but I will say that I couldn't make it through the day without it, would find it no matter where my husband hid it, and was destroying myself little by little, day by day. The ending came when I found a massive amount that he had "misplaced" about a year earlier, and I was in heaven. No more searching, hiding video cameras to see where he hides it, etc. I had my own "stash" now. But I was going to do it productively, make it last a long time....(LOL) I started it and didn't stop until it was gone, and by all reasons I should have been gone too.....AGAIN! I went through some pretty insane experiences during those few days, and at one point I fell to my knees, and for the first time in all the times that I had said these words, this time I truly meant them.....I held my arms up in the air and looked to the heavens and cried "GOD PLEASE HELP ME!" I don't remember how I got there, but I awoke in my bed to find my husband and children had disappeared, and also to find this beautiful woman who I had never seen before standing in my room. My friends, this woman had a glow about her that I will never forget as long as I live. She came to my bedside, sat down and took my hands and said to me, "I will help you if you let me!" Soon after, I was in the emergency room to find that I had made it.....one more time! Now for the great part.....This "gorgeous" doctor, who everyone around here knows about, was the doctor treating me. He looked into my eyes....(OH MY GOD, I WAS IN HEAVEN FOR SURE), and he said, "Do you want help?" I said yes. Next thing I knew I was being transported to a detox center. That darn doctor, I thought "HE" was going to help me (smile). Little did I know then, that what I had searched for all of my life, the ability to face life on it's terms and to know God, and to love myself, was heading right in my direction. My life began on this day.......November 17, 1987. My first meeting was actually an AA meeting and my first sponsor was also AA. AA came into the detox center where I was "visiting!" After detox, I found my children, went and got them, and filed for divorce. Then I began attending NA meetings, mainly because most of the people that I knew in detox were going there, but also because the counselor that I had, who became a "special" part of my life was also going there....In 1988, I started a second group of Narcotics Anonymous, called the "Spirit of Recovery" group of Narcotics Anonymous, because the other group was only meeting 3-4 nights a week, and I needed more and so did many others.....I found out that I was not a bad person, that I was worthy of life, and that I could make it without the use of drugs or alcohol in my life. I walked into the doors of a room that I didn't know what was behind, and I found a lot of love. I found people who didn't ask me, "Why do you do that?" They all knew why and they loved me still. All they cared about is what I wanted to do about my problem and how could they help! How wonderful it was to find out that I wasn't alone, wasn't judged, and wasn't going to have to live without hope anymore. In 1990 I remarried and suddenly became the mother of four instead of two......Took a lot of hard work, faith, prayer, and courage to get past the new trials and tribulations that faced both of us, but we made it through. I am grateful today for those trials, because I grow with each new learning, and sometimes painful, experiences. On September 13, 1997, I became a grandmother and I am just in "awe" of the miracles and blessings that God has given to me. Today I can smile again and I can share that with others. I still need all those people in my life that taught me this way, and I also need those that are just learning how we do it to remind me that it's still "hell" out there, and because recovery is a lifetime thing. One day at a time, "WE" can make it........AND SO CAN YOU!! Teena's Story (from an Al-Anon Viewpoint) Hi.. I went to my first Al-anon meeting today.... I was really scared, but when I got there, I relaxed. I keep learning new things everyday and every minute. It's really cool! I'm feeling so much better and happier.... I have been working on learning not to be a "people pleaser" and boy that's a tuffy! I did tell someone "no" when they asked me to do a favor for them....and they said "okay"...that was weird for me...I thought they would yell or something...LOL My husband has been great, and he has even noticed a difference in me! I heard him talking on the phone today to one of his friends and he told his friend that he was "working on giving up the liquid diet" (as he calls it)...He didn't know I was home. He has yet to go for help or a meeting, and I haven't said anything to him about it (and I don't intend to ) He hasn't had a beer in 3 days....He is irritable and has been eating everything in the house. All I can do is pray for him! Our roommate went on one of his little binges. He left and has been gone for two days and no one knows where he is. He does not drink, but he has a drug problem. The phone has been ringing off the hook with everyone looking for him, and instead of lying and covering up for him I simply said that I did not know where he was! My husband must have been reading my Al-Anon stuff because I heard him telling some of the roommates' friends some quotes from Al-Anon...? These last couple days have been really wonderful for my whole family, I keep waiting for a bomb to go off...I know it will happen....it's just a matter of time. When it does, I know now that I can go to an Al-Anon meeting....I feel that I've made some progress from the way I was the other night....and I don't intend to go back to the way I was...! I've got a lot to learn and a lot of questions ... day to day. Thanks to you all... : ) Teena
Jerry's Story is provided to help others who might be struggling with alcohol abuse, addiction, or alcoholism. This web site is not in any way affiliated with Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Disclaimer:  You must read and agree to these terms of service in order to view this website.
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Jerry's Story is provided to help others who might be struggling with alcohol abuse, addiction, or alcoholism. This web site is not in any way affiliated with Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Disclaimer:  You must read and agree to these terms of service in order to view this website.
"Life is a storm my young friend.  You will bask in the sunlight one moment...be shattered on the rocks the next.  What makes you who you are is what you do when that storm comes.” --Edmund Dantes (from The Count of Monte Cristo) Success Stories If you have a success story that you'd like to share on this web site, please submit it.  You can always remain anonymous.  These contributions are from various people who have visited our web site and wish to share their stories in order to help others. A Story by a Daughter about her Father My father will be fifty-eight this year.  Several months ago, my mother and father began arguing a lot.  Finally, one day, my mother confided to me that my father, the man I had looked up to and had often told people was the smartest person I know, was an alcoholic.  It took my mother threatening to leave him for him to finally quit, after God knows how many years.  But he's doing it.  He's like a whole new person now.  He's happier, and he's lost weight too.  He never went to Al-Anon or anything.  He just stopped drinking.  He made a choice, and stuck to it.  And now, he's my dad again. A Reflection by a Man in his Early 30's There has been too many times that I look back on my life and regret the episodes I have had when I was intoxicated.  If I can influence any teenager to stop and think before ruining your life with alcohol, I would, because it sure did ruin mine. Angela's Story My story started when I was 12 years old and was out with my sister and her friends.  I used to hang out with her because she was always being left to take care of me.  It was the night before my birthday and we were over at her friend's house.  I was at her friend's table with an older friend of my sister's when he asked me how old I was, and I told him my birthday was the next day.  Well, he brought out a bottle of whiskey and grabbed a shot glass and told me that I couldn't go anywhere until we were done with the bottle.  I ended up getting so drunk that night that I did some really stupid and crazy things before passing out.  When I awoke the next morning, I had a big headache and I felt like crap. The funny thing was that that was the FIRST day of the rest of my life...well, not really the rest of my life but for the next few years.  I started hanging out with my sister more and more until I established a friendship with her friends.  My sister was 18 at the time, and I had just turned 13 but wanted to be a part of the older crowd.  I ended up hanging out with these friends for the next few years and would go to the bar with them and loved to go hang out in the bars. I was never asked for ID because I was with these people and the bartenders and bouncers thought I was old enough. By the time I was 15 years old, I was living in the bars from the time that the bar opened at 11 a.m. until it closed at 3 a.m.  It didn't matter if I had money or not because I knew how to get money (through sex or playing pool for money), and I had no problems getting money from somewhere.  I also hung out with people who didn't mind getting sexual favors from me and then buying me drinks all night.  By the time I turned 16 years old, I was so caught up in drinking that I soon lived over the bar with a waitress who was one of my best friends.  I would wake up every morning reaching for the bottle and would go to sleep or pass out with a bottle in my hands.  I went from being a straight A student to a dropout by the time I got to high school.  I never looked at dropping out as anything but getting in the way of my drinking and didn't care that I quit school.  I had no goals or inspirations to continue with school because it was too hard for me to concentrate on school when all I wanted was a drink.  I had to have alcohol surging through my system all 24 hours of the day, and if I didn't, I would get really shaky and feel like my insides were going to burst. My life stayed on a continuous roller coaster ride of getting drunk by early morning and staying drunk all through the day until I passed out.  I would wake up in places that I didn't or couldn't remember how I got there and often woke up with a stranger in bed with me.  I was a complete and total mess, I didn't have a life, and I didn't care about anything but alcohol. It wasn't until I found out that I was pregnant at 22 years old that I started thinking about trying to quit drinking, at least until I gave birth.  I was so messed up for the first two weeks that I quit drinking that I went through horrible days of vomiting, headaches, nausea, and diarrhea or constipation.  I wanted to die because the chills, the shakes, and the hallucinations were making me want to kill myself.  I ended up being hospitalized for three months so that the doctors could try to wean me off alcohol and the damage it was doing to me.  Once I had the baby, I gave him up for adoption, (as I wasn't able to care for him since I was too messed up), and went right back to drinking for a couple more years.  At 24, I found myself pregnant again, and this time I was determined to quit drinking and make a life for me and the baby.  I admit that I wasn't that healthy when I got pregnant the second time because my meals consisted of alcohol and smoking so I rarely had anything to eat or drink besides alcohol. I was able to quit drinking by the time I had my baby girl and it was having her that made me want to change my life around.  She gave me a reason to stay sober, to get healthy, and to make something of myself.  I did everything the doctor told me to do, I ate like a horse during my pregnancy because I didn't want to have a small baby, and I read every parenting book so I would know what I had to do to take care of her.  It was a really hard road back to life and living, but it was well worth the effort, the hard work, and the nightmare that I made of my life when I was drinking.  I have been sober for 12 years now and although I still have cravings, I realize that having one drink is not going to be enough and a thousand won't satisfy me either.  So I have chosen to stay away from alcohol and not even try a sip of anything because I am an alcoholic and will be one for the rest of my life.  I have fought a hard battle and won but that doesn't mean that I am able to pick up an alcoholic drink and be strong, it just means that I now realize what I can and can't do, and I live with it everyday. If I learned anything from this experience, it is that drinking is only a part time fix for anything that you might be going through and doesn't get rid of problems as easily as you think.  It is only a temporary fix and can result in a life where you are always in the bottle and not able to see past the end of that bottle.  If I could do it all over again with the knowledge I have now, I would have drank more sensibly and wouldn't have tried to drown my problems using this self-destructive way.  I would rather have known all about the effects of alcohol on a person's entire life than to have gone through the shit I have.  IT is NOT worth the effort to drink, whether it's to fit in or to appear cool, the long-term is not worth the short term fun.  I suggest that if you are going to drink, drink sensibly, and always have someone sober driving for you.  I happened to be a lucky person because I never killed anyone while I was drinking and driving.  But if I had to tell teens or adults what was the worst about drinking, I would have to say that it would most definitely be:  that no problems can be solved, no life can be improved, and no happiness can be made by using alcohol or abusing it.  If you want true happiness, love yourself, and respect the body you have because it is the ONLY one you will get and you should treat it like it's the most important thing in your life.  Thank you. Jean's Story I tried to blame everyone and everything.  Hello, my name is Jean and I am a recovering alcoholic. I am one of the fortunate alcoholics who has lived to tell my story. But for the grace of God and the program of AA, I would have died. I started drinking at a very early age and was very popular with my high school crowd as "the life of the party". I could always out-drink everyone who I was with. What started out as fun ended in living hell. My drinking continued through high school and into business college and then into the first law office in which I worked. At that time, my drinking was fairly 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 will try to be brief and say:  I was married several times, held very prestigious jobs, like working in various law firms, for a state Senator, a Probate Judge, and the Lt. Governor's office. I had a beautiful home and a husband who I thought I loved at the time; and most of all, my beautiful children. Well, this husband didn't love me as much as I thought; he did the right thing; he took my children, he booted me out of my beautiful home, and he divorced me. I STILL had not bottomed out. I could still out-drink anyone around; 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, the ex-husbands, etc. Everyone was responsible for my drinking except me. The blackouts were, in a way, a blessing. 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 have my daily fix of alcohol every few hours or so. My life was a total living hell. There were so many days when all I could do was look out my window to see if it was daylight or dark. That, my friends, is something that no living human being would ever want to go through. Of course, eventually the time came when there was no money for apartment rent, or for anything, except the few dollars I kept back for my booze. Thank God for the final blackout -- I came to in a room with a quarter on the dresser in the room. Thank God my family practiced "TOUGH LOVE". None of my family would allow me in their homes; this was bottom out time. I looked in the yellow pages of the phone book and found the number for AA. Within minutes, a lady and gentleman from AA were there. Neither of them seemed shocked by the few things I told them. I was so sure my story was unique from anyone else's story. I was so sure I was unique. Little did I know but I was simply an alcoholic, one who was ready to do anything in the world to change my life. These people took me in, carried me to my first AA meeting, and lots of other people started working with me and detoxing me. I have never been so sick, mentally and physically. But I learned after that, that even my worst day sober was better than my best day drunk. The liquor had stopped working for me. There was no more "high," or good feeling. I would like to tell you that I stopped there, but after one year of sobriety, I decided I possibly could still be a social drinker. God, what a disaster. What I was always told in the AA program was that this disease is so very progressive, even when you are sober, and sure enough I lived to find that out. After my first or second drink, I went straight into a blackout. So my insane bout of drinking had started all over again. I am so grateful to my Higher Power and to those that still believed in me, that I was one of the lucky ones who "made it back". It was so hard to walk back into that door of AA and start over and pick up a new chip. But I did. To hell with false pride - I was ready to quit drinking. Otherwise, I was doomed for an insane asylum or death. I am happy to tell you that I have just picked up my 17 year sobriety chip. Never could I have made it alone. I have to have all of you, my brothers and sisters, to remind me of who I am, and that is, Jean, a recovering alcoholic who must take life one day at a time in order to stay sober. There have been many setbacks in my life, but thank God I have not had to take a drink. Seems that this past year has been my hardest; I broke my back, lost a husband I truly loved, and had a complete nervous breakdown. But I STILL DID NOT DRINK. Every day is like a new day to me now; sometimes I feel as if I don't quite know which direction I am going, but I know as long as I stay sober, the direction will sooner or later become clear. I have the privilege of being able to do some work in a detox unit, and its such a great feeling to share my experience, strength, and hope with another suffering human being. I hope, in doing so that somewhere down the line, I may help just 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 God for Bill W. and Dr. Bob, our co-founders. Whatever would we have done had their paths not crossed. I don't have everything in the world I want right now, but I do have everything that I need, and it has been proven to me by my Higher Power and the Steps and Traditions of this program and all the great people in this program, that this thing does work. There are many things I would like to change in my life, but I feel if it is meant for them to change, it will happen. I do have my children back, with the exception of one child who is out there, and is a practicing "addict". There is nothing I can do for him, except pray. I have carried him to many meetings with me, so he has been exposed, and it is up to him as to whether he chooses to live or die. It is that simple. There is no in between. I want to end by telling each of you, those of you who I don't know, that I love you. We share the same disease and we know what we have to do in life. We have a choice today. And isn't that wonderful? Some people with diseases don't have a choice. I have been given the gift of sobriety; I love life without alcohol; I enjoy so much drinking my coffee on my back steps and watching the birds in the morning; simple things that nobody else would think is that important. I find that I can make clear decisions, even though they don't always have the outcome I would like. What more can I say? I am a grateful alcoholic whose name is Jean L. and every day is a new awakening, because I have been given another chance; and I must not let alcohol destroy my life. That is the reason I have to stay active in this program and always remind myself of who I am, where I have been, and where I never want and don't have to go again. Thank you for allowing me to share my story with you. "I Will Never Be That's" Story Hi, I just wanted to share a few things with you all about my life, where I came from, and where I am today. I was born on July 24, 1956 at Hamilton AFB, California. I was one of six children, five girls and one boy...(Poor guy, huh?) We traveled quite a bit from base to base, but eventually we ended up at Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta, Georgia......the place that I call home today. Throughout my life I witnessed abuse, alcoholism in progress, and I just knew that I "would never be like that!" My father is an alcoholic and my mother wasn't strong enough to walk away. I learned how to comfort my mother and I knew how high to jump when dad said jump. But most of all, I knew how to hide my feelings, my embarrassment, my guilt, my fear, and my pain from all those who knew me. I was that "happy" person who always had a smile on my face..... I went through my school years knowing that I was not really accepted by those that I thought were "really cool" but I pretended that I was just as good, and that it didn't really matter to me, and I just kept smiling......on the outside! But deep inside, I wanted so badly to be like everyone else....so sure of themselves and always knowing the right thing to say or to do. I became somewhat of a class clown; (sound familiar?) I realize that we weren't all class clowns, but I think we all had some way of being noticed. For me, I knew how to be funny! At least I thought I was. Today I wonder if they were laughing with me or at me. The great part is, I really don't care today. Moving a little further on, I knew as I was becoming an adult that I was different from other people. I didn't really understand why, but I knew that my life was just not as wonderful as theirs seemed to be. I felt as though I was worth the kind of life that I thought others had, but somehow I just didn't feel like they did. After graduating from high school, I got a phone call from a basketball coach to inform me that Valdosta State University (which was a college at the time) was forming their first girl's basketball team the next year and asked if I was interested in playing. (I played in high school.) Oh yes, this would make me "somebody." I just knew it. So, I started college, but really because of the fame that playing ball would give me. I would be just like everybody else then. I also started working as a bartender at a really nice place in town, so I was important to all those "social drinkers" (LOL) too. The day before our very first VSC girls basketball game I tore a ligament in my leg while doing wind sprints. Well, there goes the fame!! I completed my first year of college and then decided that I was making enough money bartending and didn't need a career. I was still very adamant about "not drinking," because again I was never going to be like that. I would never be like my father. I was a good bartender.....matter of fact my boss told me he'd put me up against any bartender in the country. I knew how to excel at anything that I did. Then came the dreaded "relationship" era....I didn't know much about that because I never dated in high school. I was just a tall, skinny, basketball player who spent my time after school riding my horse....did I mention that I was a barrel racer? Sold my horse during my "college basketball priority!" Anyway, my first relationship was pretty good. He was a nice guy and he loved me. Was going to marry me even! (smile) Well, you know with every "first" relationship there comes a "first" disagreement. I remember it so well....it was as though I had no idea how to react....no idea whatsoever. He sat in the bar that I was working at with "another girl" and I thought that I was supposed to at least react. I started thinking about how I should feel, and suddenly my mind went to TV....you know the story....they fight, they break up, someone gets drunk and throws the glass across the room in anger.....That's it, that's what I'll do! I fixed the most powerful drink (with a fruity flavor so I could tolerate the taste), and then I went into the "closed" kitchen and sat on a barstool and drank, and drank, and drank.....Then it was time for the big moment.....I stood up, threw the glass across the kitchen to watch it shatter against the wall. Okay, now I should "feel" something. Well, I don't recall it, but I must have "felt" the floor because that's where my boyfriend found me. Passed out in the kitchen on the floor. Glad I missed that one! I could have hurt myself, huh? It's funny, but right then I knew that I had to find out how to do this thing called alcohol. That was my first drug of choice. Over the years, many "abusive" relationships (funny how we always seemed to find someone just like dad) and three engagements, I knew something just wasn't right. These guys "loved?" me, yet they could abuse me, and I didn't really understand it, but I was just like mom. Not strong enough to walk away. I guess I just wasn't good enough for anything more than that either. After I was "strong" enough to leave the third man that I was engaged to, I became a "single" person and was loving it. Did what "I" wanted and when I wanted to. I was awoken about 4 a.m. one morning by the hospital. A friend of mine was in an accident and she requested that they call me. She was one of my waitresses and had no family here. I had only been to bed for about 2 hours at the time. Well, I ended up being up all night long and all day and then had to go to work. I was so very tired. One of the bartenders that I worked with was on prescription diet pills and told me to take one, that it would help. Well, I had never done "drugs" and just as before, "I would never do that," but she convinced me that it would not make me feel as though I was "on" something, but would only wake me up. "WOW" was I awake. I was so energetic and very impressed. I knew how to do "alcohol" very well, and now I needed to know how to do this. I ended up staying up all night again, but this time it was because of this "energy pill" and the next day I returned to work "needing another one" in order to stay awake. After about 3 days of this she told me "you can't do this!" Oh, but I didn't, remember? You can't give me something to keep me up and then just take them away! I was actually "desperate" and this feeling was very new to me. She refused to let me have anymore. This was my very first (and only) experience with theft. I went into the closet where our purses were and "took" some of her pills. I only took half of one in order to be able to sleep that night. I did sleep and was fine at work the next night, but all I could think about were those pills that were "now mine" sitting in my purse. I started taking them just for that extra boost of energy. (Like I needed it or something.) After they were gone, and knowing that somewhere deep inside I just couldn't "steal" hers again, I asked around for some speed. Bought a bottle from someone with 800 RJS's for $80.00.....What a bargain....only 10 cents a piece. Hmmmmm....everyone was paying $1.00 for these things. I can make some money here too. I began "living" on these pills and although my mind said "go, go, go," my body finally said "STOP!" I was fortunate to have friends at my apartment at the time and the paramedics were called to "revive" me. My first "second chance" at life was given to me. But I didn't think about it that way back then. All I knew then was that I would have to find a "different" drug because this one was killing me. So, off to search for something new. I'll skip on past, but during the next few years I continued to search for something to make me feel important....one drug after the other, one sexual encounter after the other, whatever it took to feel loved. I didn't realize how much guilt I was building up inside and that the day would come that I would "BE" somebody that was worthy and I'd have to look back upon all of this in order to come to terms with it. I eventually met a man who was playing keyboards in a band. He was gentle and kind and since singing was my "dream" in life, we connected pretty easily. I started singing with the band and loving life. The day he asked me to marry him, I knew right then that I was going to be okay.....this guy would never treat me like the others and that was a good enough reason for me. We married and soon had our first child. Things were real good. I still drank a lot though. That part didn't change. After my bartending job, I would go out to the club where he played and would drink until he finished for the night. But we were productive members of society.....(are we laughing yet?) We did cocaine on special occasions (i.e. birthday, anniversary, etc.), but that bottle was always there at my fingertips when I wanted it. All of our friends did a lot of cocaine, but we were different....only on "special" occasions for us. Eventually the place that I had bartended for 9 years closed. The owner was just tired of it and wanted to take a break. I went to work for another place, but during that time a new company bought the building and had plans of making a five star restaurant and lounge out of it. Because I had run the lounge in that building for so long, the new owners, after hearing repeatedly "you need Jami here," came to the place that I was working and offered me more money and "get this," a cadillac company car......Man, a bartender with a "company car?" They had been watching me work for a few days and decided to give me an offer I couldn't refuse. So, I hired my husband to put together a different type of band to suit a five star lounge. Tuxedos, upright bass, keyboard, drums, and trumpet. The right type of look with the right type of music. It was going well in the beginning, but eventually the prices for "5-star" was just too much for our town, and suddenly the doors were locked, the owners had disappeared, and I was a few thousand dollars (in back pay) in the hole. By this time we had 2 children, and we were both out of work. That's when the real trouble started. A friend of my husbands told him, "You're always coming to me for cocaine for someone else, so why don't you just buy some and sell it for profit until you both find jobs!" You know, just something to put food on the table until we both got back to work somewhere. Well folks, this was the beginning of the end (or was it possibly my "true" beginning at life??) Suddenly this drug that we only did on special occasions was sitting in our home 24 hours a day . I won't go into the next 18 months, but I will say that I couldn't make it through the day without it, would find it no matter where my husband hid it, and was destroying myself little by little, day by day. The ending came when I found a massive amount that he had "misplaced" about a year earlier, and I was in heaven. No more searching, hiding video cameras to see where he hides it, etc. I had my own "stash" now. But I was going to do it productively, make it last a long time....(LOL) I started it and didn't stop until it was gone, and by all reasons I should have been gone too.....AGAIN! I went through some pretty insane experiences during those few days, and at one point I fell to my knees, and for the first time in all the times that I had said these words, this time I truly meant them.....I held my arms up in the air and looked to the heavens and cried "GOD PLEASE HELP ME!" I don't remember how I got there, but I awoke in my bed to find my husband and children had disappeared, and also to find this beautiful woman who I had never seen before standing in my room. My friends, this woman had a glow about her that I will never forget as long as I live. She came to my bedside, sat down and took my hands and said to me, "I will help you if you let me!" Soon after, I was in the emergency room to find that I had made it.....one more time! Now for the great part.....This "gorgeous" doctor, who everyone around here knows about, was the doctor treating me. He looked into my eyes....(OH MY GOD, I WAS IN HEAVEN FOR SURE), and he said, "Do you want help?" I said yes. Next thing I knew I was being transported to a detox center. That darn doctor, I thought "HE" was going to help me (smile). Little did I know then, that what I had searched for all of my life, the ability to face life on it's terms and to know God, and to love myself, was heading right in my direction. My life began on this day.......November 17, 1987. My first meeting was actually an AA meeting and my first sponsor was also AA. AA came into the detox center where I was "visiting!" After detox, I found my children, went and got them, and filed for divorce. Then I began attending NA meetings, mainly because most of the people that I knew in detox were going there, but also because the counselor that I had, who became a "special" part of my life was also going there....In 1988, I started a second group of Narcotics Anonymous, called the "Spirit of Recovery" group of Narcotics Anonymous, because the other group was only meeting 3-4 nights a week, and I needed more and so did many others.....I found out that I was not a bad person, that I was worthy of life, and that I could make it without the use of drugs or alcohol in my life. I walked into the doors of a room that I didn't know what was behind, and I found a lot of love. I found people who didn't ask me, "Why do you do that?" They all knew why and they loved me still. All they cared about is what I wanted to do about my problem and how could they help! How wonderful it was to find out that I wasn't alone, wasn't judged, and wasn't going to have to live without hope anymore. In 1990 I remarried and suddenly became the mother of four instead of two......Took a lot of hard work, faith, prayer, and courage to get past the new trials and tribulations that faced both of us, but we made it through. I am grateful today for those trials, because I grow with each new learning, and sometimes painful, experiences. On September 13, 1997, I became a grandmother and I am just in "awe" of the miracles and blessings that God has given to me. Today I can smile again and I can share that with others. I still need all those people in my life that taught me this way, and I also need those that are just learning how we do it to remind me that it's still "hell" out there, and because recovery is a lifetime thing. One day at a time, "WE" can make it........AND SO CAN YOU!! Teena's Story (from an Al-Anon Viewpoint) Hi.. I went to my first Al-anon meeting today.... I was really scared, but when I got there, I relaxed. I keep learning new things everyday and every minute. It's really cool! I'm feeling so much better and happier.... I have been working on learning not to be a "people pleaser" and boy that's a tuffy! I did tell someone "no" when they asked me to do a favor for them....and they said "okay"...that was weird for me...I thought they would yell or something...LOL My husband has been great, and he has even noticed a difference in me! I heard him talking on the phone today to one of his friends and he told his friend that he was "working on giving up the liquid diet" (as he calls it)...He didn't know I was home. He has yet to go for help or a meeting, and I haven't said anything to him about it (and I don't intend to ) He hasn't had a beer in 3 days....He is irritable and has been eating everything in the house. All I can do is pray for him! Our roommate went on one of his little binges. He left and has been gone for two days and no one knows where he is. He does not drink, but he has a drug problem. The phone has been ringing off the hook with everyone looking for him, and instead of lying and covering up for him I simply said that I did not know where he was! My husband must have been reading my Al-Anon stuff because I heard him telling some of the roommates' friends some quotes from Al-Anon...? These last couple days have been really wonderful for my whole family, I keep waiting for a bomb to go off...I know it will happen....it's just a matter of time. When it does, I know now that I can go to an Al-Anon meeting....I feel that I've made some progress from the way I was the other night....and I don't intend to go back to the way I was...! I've got a lot to learn and a lot of questions ... day to day. Thanks to you all... : ) Teena