“Hi, I’m Anneke, and I’m an alcoholic.”
The first time I said those words out loud in an AA meeting, I burst into tears. It’s one thing to know you have a drinking problem; it’s another thing to share that with a room full of people. Good thing I was in excellent company.
I wasn’t used to having company; I had basically become a hermit- an isolated drinker who chose cabernet over pretty much everything else. The girl who started out as a happy, social sipper had become the leader of a lonely party of three: me, chardonnay and a dvd.
There is a saying among former alcoholics: At first drinking is fun, then fun with problems, then just problems. I’ve reached the “problems” portion of my drinking career. I’ve deeply hurt people I love, and I’ve become a person I don’t recognize anymore. While, in the past, I’ve tentatively dipped my toe into sobriety- and failed numerous times- I’m now ready to dive in, head first.
I’m starting this blog as a way to share my experience in recovery. I’m committing to write every day for one year- as an experiment, a form of therapy, and hopefully a way to connect with others who are on a similar path (or have been affected by someone dealing with alcoholism).
Part of my recovery plan is to read about others’ experiences in sobriety. First up is Sarah Hepola’s book ‘Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget.’ I can’t put it down. One passage feels especially relevant to me at this time:
“I drank away nervousness, and I drank away boredom, and I needed to build a new tolerance. Yes to discomfort, yes to frustration, yes to failure, because it meant I was getting stronger. I refused to be the person who only played games she could win.”
So, cheers to everyone who steps up to the plate and risks (hell, embraces) getting their ass kicked along the way. I’m doing the same and hope you’ll join me on this crazy, ugly, beautiful journey.