The biggest thing I have today is a choice of whether to drink or not thanks to Alcoholics Anonymous.
My story starts at the age of I4, when I started work at the abattoirs as a learner butcher. There I found myself among quite a few heavy drinkers, whose tales of drinking escapades suited me to the ground. At this age I had my first go at beer four 7 oz. glasses. I liked it and the type of company that went with drinking.
For quite some years I tried to live up to my ideal of a male rationalising things like, work like a man I can drink like a man saying this every time I went into a hotel under the legal age.
The very night I turned twenty-one I was arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. I was full of self pity and shame at having my fingerprints taken, name in the local paper and my fiancee was very upset, but I never blamed alcohol for my troubles. I called it bad luck.
Within a couple of weeks of my arrival in a country town I gained a reputation of not being a bad sort of bloke sober, but a proper idiot when drunk. I took a job in the bush to save money for my forthcoming marriage, secretly hoping that by being remote, I wouldn’t drink as much.
That didn’t work either, as I saved my daily cans for Saturday night and became a week-end bender drinker, causing fights arguments and general ill-feeling in the camp.
After seven months I went back to the city to be married, my fiancee hoping that I wouldn’t drink as much once married. But this was not to be, as we were both working and I drank more as I thought I could afford it.
Seven years of arguments, fights, gaols, loss of licence for three months, followed and my wife decided she’d had enough. I somehow realised that, left on my own, I would be finished so we sold up and moved to make a new start (a geographical).
I’ve been told I had an inward desire not to drink as much and I made promises to my wife and myself only to drink socially.
It lasted six weeks and after making acquaintances at a local club I drank even heavier than before. Back came all the arguments plus the fear of being apprehended under the influence, for I now drove a truck for a living. But it didn’t stop me, at least not until I crashed my car with my two-year old son with me.
My wife immediately threatened to leave me, but her sister talked her into staying and me into going to AA.
But I couldn’t believe I was an alcoholic, I was only thirty years of age. I went to AA believing I was doing it for my wife, but I found that I had to get sober for myself, but my family would reap the side benefits of my sobriety.
This took a fair while to sink in, and I also had another problem my wife!
For eight years she had had a good excuse to nag me about drinking, and the sobriety change was too much for her. We argued and shouted at each other for about three months, until she grudgingly went to AI-Anon.
Also, I wanted instant peace and contentment, but I found out that it takes a lot of time to erase the past episodes, and anything received too easy is not worth having.
Today I live a fairly simple life on the AA program, one day at a time. MY family is an emotionally happy one and we have some material gains, which are a by-product of sobriety, but not a necessity. I owe my life to AA and Al-Anon for the tremendous help given us both in achieving peace of mind and contentment.
The biggest thing I have today is a choice of whether to drink or not, and, through the program, my brain now knows what is best for it,