Getting Sober

Hi at the end of a previous video  I said that I’d ended up in a psychiatric hospital.  I had been given 6 months to live if I continued to take alcohol or drugs.  But that really wasn’t the reason why I wanted to get sober.

I wanted to stop drinking because I just hated what I had become, I had hated this thing that looked back at me from the mirror and because of that I wanted to stop drinking. I wanted to get rid of the anxiety, the panic attacks the arrogance, you know this person.

The problem was I didn’t know how to do it. I had no idea how to stop drinking and stay stopped.  I had stopped many a time.  Mark Twain says, he was talking about smoking, he says stopping smoke is easy, I’ve done it hundreds of times.  But the problem is not getting sober, the problem is staying stopped, and there is an even bigger problem staying stopped happily. I’ll talk about these things in this series of videos but first of all stopping and staying stopped.

I went back to Alcoholics Anonymous and as soon as I came out of the hospital.  A couple of the people who were in hospital being dried out at the same time, they had no intention of getting sober.  They were just there to get dried out and get healthy again, get out there again and get on with the partying.  That wasn’t for me, it just was not for me, so I went to Alcoholics Anonymous.

I went there every day for weeks, months, sometimes I went a couple of times a day. There’d be an afternoon meeting, an evening meeting.  I talked Alcoholics Anonymous incessantly.  Oh and by the way I hated it!  I hated Alcoholics Anonymous. I didn’t like the people, I didn’t like the surroundings, I didn’t like what they said, I didn’t like anything to do with it.  I didn’t want to be there.  I really didn’t.  I didn’t think I fitted, until one day one day somebody said that when they discovered alcohol they found the bit that God had left out.

I just sat there and went wow that’s me, because that’s what I always felt. I always felt there was a bit missing from me, you know, there was the spark it was missing, the confidence, you know, it just wasn’t there.   And also that people always seem to know what to do in social situations and I never seem to know what to do in social situations.  So I felt that there had been a big book out there that all these people had read and then hidden it so I couldn’t see it.

So after that I started to pay attention, I started to listen, I started to read, I started to read the big book.  I started to read other things. I found that I was fascinated by Bill Wilson.  BillWilson being one of the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous.  I thought the things that he said and did were really interesting, and I found it really sad that he had created this movement that had helped so many people get sober and yet he himself never got some of the benefits of the thing he created.  It was rather sad. He was hunting for it all the time but he never got it. But the program he left behind was actually something which was really helpful, really interesting and, for me, life saving.

I also met a couple of people in alcoholics Anonymous who were not you know.  When I went to alcoholics anonymous I thought it was the elephant’s graveyard and I would just I would go here and I would sit and I would vegetate but I just would not pick up a drink.  And I was prepared to do that.  If that’s the way it’s going to be, that’s the way it’s got to be!

You get a certain amount of alcohol in your life, you get a certain amount of happiness in your life and I have just used up both I’m afraid, and therefore I’ll just sit here until I die and with any luck I’ll be fairly soon.

But I met a couple of people in alcoholics Anonymous who showed me something different.  They showed me that there could be excitement, there could be joy, you could enjoy yourself, you could do lots and lots of things that didn’t involve alcohol.

Now up till then, there was very little in my life that didn’t involve alcohol.  But they showed me a different way and I started to enjoy myself, and I started to like myself.  I started to like what I was doing, I started to like life, I started to like being sober you know.

But I had to work at it, because it didn’t come easy.  In the first year I reckon was you know it’s pretty difficult.  I avoided pubs I avoided clubs, I avoided anywhere there was alcohol because I was scared, I didn’t trust myself.  I avoided it like the plague.  The first time I was invited to party I was scared, I was terrified.  I need to go to this party, and there’s gonna be booze involved.  Scary!!  What will I do?

Well I just listened to a few good pieces of advice, put them into practice and I got by. That was fine, I did it!  That built a bit of confidence.  And then I was coming to the end and of  my first year of sobriety.  I thought, I’m never gonna make this.  And the dreams I was having of drinking, nightmares almost, that I was drinking.And then I got there.  I thought wow!!

In Scotland they have they have a tradition of celebrating your first birthday in Alcoholics Anonymous.  What you do is you do what’s called the top table.  The top table is when you share your strength, hope and experience to everybody you know and they all congratulate you on your birthday.  And there was some people from a group I had been in previously and they asked me to come and do my birthday share with them.  And I thought, hey great you know I’m such a good influence.  And I said, is this because I’ve been such a good influence and you want me to share this wonderful story.  And these two guys have been sober for quite a long time and they said, no what we want to show is that if you can get anybody can get it!

A wee bit deflating, but it was true and it’s still true, if I can do that anybody can do and I’ll share much more about how Alcoholics Anonymous in some of the later videos.

In the mean time, look at some of the other videos or posts  eg An alcoholic says sorry)

2 Replies to “Getting Sober”

  1. AA not for me, I tried. I too had powerful dreams about drinking. The same depression, anxiety, panic attacks. I applied the same principles I used in quitting smoking to quitting alcohol. I drank for the vast majority of my life, probably 40 years. I Had the same problem worrying about not having fun. I also turned to God and while I know I will have to deal with this for the rest of my life, I know I can do it. It’s only been 41/2 years but it’s been awesome! The first year was the worst but it gets better.

    1. Hi Richard
      thanks for your comment and congratulations on 41/2 years. Great achievement. Totally agree with you, the first year was hard but it has been amazing. For me, it is the great adventure, exploring a new life, a new you! Like many people, I asked what will I do if I don’t drink? Will life be boring? The answers are anything you want to do (except drink) and absolutely not. What was more boring than being drunk all the time. Drunks are boring. I was one and I was really boring!!! Thanks again.

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