To qualify as an alcoholic I can seriously say that I cannot drink, not even one, or the craving of this cunning, baffling and powerful disease has no boundaries. When I decided to surrender from my drinking, I was spiritually, mentally and physically bankrupt.
Nothing Mattered But the DrinkBy this I mean that nothing else had mattered, not my family, not my physical appearance, or my state of health, nothing had mattered but the drink and I would got to any length to get it. I had at this point become completely powerless over alcohol.
I had developed anxiety and panic attacks from the withdrawals symptoms and the cravings only got worse the more I drank. Alcoholism is a progressive disease and needs physical, spiritual and emotional stability and balance to combat the cravings. Many a time I swore I would never drink again, but the craving was overpowering.
Emotionally, I Was a MessMany people at this point had asked me when the baby was due. My liver was so swollen that I looked nine months pregnant and I didn't even see this physical and obvious medical problem while I drank. I was in denial (don't even notice I am lying.) Denial is the one of the hardest hurdles to jump. Until a person is completely ready to stop drinking, 100 percent surrender, only then are you ready to start the journey of life in sobriety.
Needless to say my emotional state was a mess. All I was concerned about was where I'd get my first drink. I had stages of physical and mental exhaustion and thought I had lost my mind, but I didn't blame it on drinking.
I Thought I Was CrazyThis is when I booked into the mental hospital where they medicated my withdrawals only to the point where the cravings and desire to drink took over my way of thinking and I went back out to find another drink. I thought I was crazy and didn't admit to having a drinking problem. It was the stress, the anxiety, the family wouldn't have anything to do with me anymore -- anything but admitting I was an alcoholic.
I didn't care if I ate slept or took a bath. I lay on the couch at home too sick to even get up and sip on a drink to avoid the shakes the nightmares and the depression. By the time I was sick and tired of being sick and tired nothing would stay down in my stomach not even the liquor.
If I Didn't Quit, I Would DieI'd had it. Anything was better than living like this. I had heard about Alcoholics Anonymous, a support group of other alcoholics who had the same thing in common -- a drinking problem. I tried to quit and failed so many times on my own, but I hadn't gone to A.A. meetings.
At this point, what could I lose? My Doctor had warned me that I had liver damage and that if I didn't quit I would die, as simple as that. At 44 years old, I wasn't ready to die yet.
I Was Among FriendsI started going to meetings. I entered the room frightened and alone and heard laughter. People greeted me at the door, shook my hand and told me that It would only get better. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking and believe me I wanted to quit, but I didn't know how. The feeling of loneliness was gone while I was there. I felt I was among friends, friends who cared who I was and understood my disease. We were all there for the same reason.
I went back as often as possible; they recommend 90 meetings in 90 days. I could stay away from the drink if I surrendered, but I needed the help of others who understood that drinking is a problem for alcoholics. I saw old friends I used to drink with that were healthy, and had gotten their lives back on track. They told me to take it one day at a time. just make it through 24 hours without a drink. I could do that.
I Gained Back TrustMy life was improving and my health was improving. I gained back the trust of my family, but most of all my life was becoming manageable without alcohol. I just had to keep coming back. There really was hope and support and through the meetings and the support from others who all shared the same problem of alcoholism. I learned I wasn't alone.
Alcoholics Anonymous saved my life. I've made new friends who truly care. I am responsible once again, but having my physical health back is a blessing. My liver tests are coming back normal and I have adjusted to living and being socially accepted. Alcoholics Anonymous taught me that there is help in numbers and how to deal with my life on life's terms, to fit into society once again -- one day at a time.