My Drinking Career And How Alcoholics Anonymous Ruined It...My name is PrincessMaine and as of August 28, 2010, I had 6 years of sobriety with the fellowship and support of Alcoholics Anonymous...
When I open up at any given commitment meeting and stand up at the podium, I usually give the same opening line, even though it's been passed around most likely millions of times. The reason being is that in the back of my mind I believe there is most likely a newcomer in the crowd somewhere feeling a little skeptical about AA in general and s/he is there because s/he HAS to be. It may be the Court system, a spouse, a Judgment, part of an Order or anything else which may lead the reader to believe the attendee simply wants to be anywhere else other than where s/he is at.
The opening is usually a catchy little line and quite witty. It goes as follows, but is not always verbatim..
"My name is PrincessMaine and I am a Recovering Alcoholic." (Then I may say something about the small meeting we had on the way to that meeting..)
"I am allergic to alcohol. The effect that it has on me is very ugly. I break out in handcuffs, bars, jails, institutions, detoxes, etc..."
There's always someone at the meeting who hasn't heard the line. And then I continue on about my drinking career, where it got me and where I ended up. And then I share about how AA has changed my whole life and how I became a spiritual person. I never had that before as I grew up without being introduced to any kind of religion whatsoever.
I love to share my experience, strength and hope with others because others have always been so readily willing to do this for me.
There isn't any way of sugarcoating what alcohol has done to me. They say, and I truly believe this, that the lady takes a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes the lady. True in every one of my horrendous cases. I have been to the point of being arrested several times, had police guns drawn on me, jailed until Monday many times, been in over 15 detoxes, over 5 rehabs, several halfway houses, one women's sober home for a year and a mental institution for two weeks for attempted suicide. I have also slept on the city streets of Boston for a period of time when the Judge threw me in a women's shelter there, but it turned out that after the lights went out the "crack thing" was going on with some of the girls and I just wasn't into that so I upped and left. I currently have three OUIs on my record and I am still trying to straighten out the wreckage of my past. It's been one hell of a ride and I wouldn't recommend this one to anyone..
I didn't really care about what happened to me at that point. I just couldn't seem to hit my bottom. The bottle ruled my life and I was determined to satisfy that monkey with every bit of my being. I couldn't live without it. I couldn't talk to anyone, I needed the poison for everything and every reason was a good reason. I actually heard someone say at a meeting once that she didn't want to die because "she wouldn't be able to drink any more". Imagine that?
I think a lot of people here at EP know who I am. So don't be shocked when I tell you that I have quite the "RAP" sheet. All from the use of alcohol, of course. I'm a blackout drinker. (Notice I didn't say "was". You are an alcoholic until they put you in your grave) One can never be "cured" from it, and it's always lingering-waiting for you to take the bite while growing even stronger...the disease of alcoholism wants you dead. It certainly did me. They actually told my Mom my blood alcohol level was .50 in ICU and that I "may not make it through the night". Damn what I put my family through!
The hardest things for me, especially in the beginning, were the resentments. I have learned, through AA, how to let them go and forgive those who've hurt me. I do believe in Karma and It will handle those who intentionally hurt me and others and/or who are evil. So, I find it in my heart to let go and forgive and not let the evil people rent space in my head.. The others...., well, I pray for them because they must be as sick as I am..
Let me quickly give you an example of something, stemming from my alcoholism, on my "RAP" sheet:
Assault and Battery:
Our old neighbor: A well known alcoholic and pain pill user. She was friendly with my Mom, but my Mom never trusted her. I was friends and grew up with her daughter. Let's say her name is "Ida". Ida did take care of my Mom when she was dying from Cancer. My heart aches because I was married to the bottle at that point. I SO couldn't deal with that as I thought my Mom invincible..She was just always so very strong. When my Mom found out that she had Cancer, she told Ida and Ida never told us. Mom didn't want to worry her children, especially me. Funny thing about my Mom, she was always happy when I was jailed or in rehab because that was one night that she wouldn't have to worry about me..
Well, on the day of my Mom's intern, my brother gave Ida the key to our home and asked her to set up some food plates and try to straighten up a little for company after the funeral. There was a guy who went with her, an alleged "friend" of my Dad's who lived up the street and used to visit Dad. (Dad and Mom passed 6 months apart in 2003 and 2004).
When I returned home, I saw 3 large contractor bags full of my Mother's things, EVERYTHING!! Clothes, all her jewelry, everything that was in her top drawers that even *I* never saw! She said she took a "couple of bags* to her house already because she "knew they wouldn't fit me". She claims that she was "doing me a favor". I started yelling and then she put on this fake panic attack for my older brother then ran and pretended to throw up in the sink. She was The Great Manipulator and actor, but then again, aren't all of us alcoholics?
I can't explain to you what an absolute RAGE I was in. I lost my closure that day, NEVER to get it back. A couple of days later after having had a few, I met Ida in the back yard and started telling her how I, uh, felt about what she had done. Then I walked right up to her and socked her in the eye. Hence, the black eye I gave her. (I had taken quite a few Tai Kwon Do lessons in my 20s & 30s).
Now this would have been handled quite differently today. AA has taught me how to deal with things responsibly. An officer would have been the best route for all involved because what she actually did was steal from the family. From me. That being said, the guy that was allegedly friends with my Dad ended up scoffing some things downstairs that belonged to my Dad (a bunch of very expensive tools), as did Ida, but she took home some other things I will never know about. Neither one of them had any business being downstairs.
I have always wanted to write about this episode because it has haunted me quite a bit since then. She sent me an email later saying my mother hated me and hated "dealing with me". I know for a fact that my mother loved me more than any person could possibly love another unconditionally. That was simply meant to hurt, and I knew it. My Mom spent her life wondering where SHE went wrong in raising me.. I actually still have that email!
But ya know what, folks? One of the best choices I ever made was NOT having children. I knew I was emotionally and physically too ill to take care of myself let alone a cat! But those are the choices I made and the only really good one was the aforementioned. All of the former ones brought me nearly to my death several times.
It breaks my heart when I see some young men and women who are still active and suffering and as I read their stories I can't help but feel their pain. And sometimes the tears, well, my tears roll with theirs...
AA saved my life. I have seen AA save many many lives. The members didn't give me dirty looks when I went to meetings in the beginning with vodka on my breath and emanating through my pores. They always welcomed me with open arms through my journey of what seemed perpetual revolving doors. And I have enough one-day chips to start a poker game all over the world! Don't give up folks, you can "fake it 'til you make it"!
Alcoholic Anonymous gave my Mom the gift of 24 years of sobriety before she passed. And 124 AAers attended her funeral that day. I hope she hears me when I tell her how many people adored her. She never noticed because she spent so much time worrying about me and those she loved around her. And she loved Alcoholics Anonymous as much as I do today. I thank God every day that she pointed me in the right direction.