Hi, My name is Jim, a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Through God's grace, the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, and the AA fellowship I have not found it necessary to consume an alcoholic beverage since 05/09/2005. I am an alcoholic - I am unable to quit drinking alcohol using my own will power and once I start drinking I have no control over the amount I consume.
What it was like, what happened, and what it is like now:
My father's side of the family is Italian/Lithuanian and my mother's side is Blackfoot Indian/English. My mother and father separated when I was 7 years old after dad woke me up in the middle of the night announcing his plans for divorce and presenting me with a choice - who do I want to live with? I chose dad and left that night with him, only to be brought back to my mom the next day. They divorced two years later and I rarely saw dad after he left. My father was an alcoholic and he died from complications associated with the disease of alcoholism at the age of 42.
Mom took on the task of raising me by herself and over the next few years we lived in various places sometimes in squalid conditions. Mom worked nights for a few years and when I didn't have a babysitter I was taking care of myself. Mother met and married my soon to be step father when I was 14 years old and we moved again to another state.
I didn't do very well in school and had an overall sense things just weren't right. I didn't feel comfortable in my own skin and believed there was something wrong with me though I didn't know what it could be. I couldn't relate to people very well and learned early they couldn't be trusted. I felt it was better to be by myself than be around people who lied to me, cheated me, stole from me, and tried to steal my soul. My grades in school were horrible and reflected how I felt about myself and life in general.
I had my first drink when I was 16/17 years old and I believed the experience was fantastic. After the alcohol entered my blood stream I felt a sense of calm and relaxation I had never before felt. I found the courage to do and say whatever I felt inspired to do and I knew I found a new friend.
My first black out was at 18 years old and I was sick in a way I had never experienced before - puking all over me, my bedroom, and bathroom in the middle of the night. Next day I vowed to never drink again. Six months later I joined the Air Force and after arriving at tech school began several years of daily blackout drinking.
I had experienced lots of trouble over the years. I didn't get in trouble every time I drank but, every time I got in trouble I had been drinking. I missed a lot of my life as much of it was spent in blackouts. I've been in fights, car accidents, hospitals, and nearly was arrested several times resulting from drinking. I've never been an in-patient at a rehab but have spent many days as an out-patient off and on over the years.
May, 03, 1991 I woke up in the basement of my house not remembering a thing from the day before; I was at work and started drinking. I don't remember much after the second drink. What I've been told and some of what I remember, my wife was missing me and came to my place of work and found me flat on my back passed out in a pool of red vomit; That was on a Thursday. On Friday I awoke feeling a fear I had never felt before or since and had gone to see my father in-law who was in AA and spent the day with him. On Saturday, I was in my first meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous and admitted for the first time in a group I am an alcoholic, I'm powerless over alcohol, and my life is unmanageable.
I immersed myself into the AA program working the steps, stayed close to the fellowship, and for the next 8 years, 9 months, and 20 days I did not drink.
Just after the 7th year of sobriety I decided I did not want to be in the military anymore and began to place my attention on "Life after Air Force". My thoughts/actions, day and night, began to be more occupied with the life Jim wanted. March, 31, 1999 I left the service and stopped going to AA meetings. By day I ran my own business and by night I worked for a major retail chain, sleeping three to four hours a day. I left my wife December 23, 1999, on February, 23, 2000 I picked up my first drink after convincing myself I could do so safely, and on May, 30, 2000 I was legally divorced.
Two months after I started drinking again I knew I was in trouble and felt powerless to do anything about it. The thought of returning to AA was one not seriously entertained for the thought was treated as "been there, done that" kinda thing. Over the next 5 years I changed jobs (lost one due to drinking), moved a few times, bought an old house, and remarried.
I was drinking and passing out on an almost daily basis. Feeling sick and trembling every day was normal behavior; I came too in the morning and passed out at night - almost daily.
February, 2005 my wife attempted suicide with prescription pills while I was sitting in the same room and didn't know it in my drunken stupor. She survived that attempt because she said goodbye to one of her sisters over the phone and her sister became concerned and came over to the house. I was incoherent and unable to attend to my wife while her sister instructed me to call 911 as she attempted life saving measures.
May, 5, 2005 my wife came home from work and retired to a back bedroom and spent 2 days in a prescription drug induced coma of which I did nothing about because pride was going to hold me back from seeking help. I didn't want to deal with the situation and did not want to have to explain to anyone the dysfunctional lifestyle we were living in - I continued to drink. On the evening of May, 7, 2005 I woke up from being passed out to finding my wife standing over me with a knife in her hand. She was talking and acting strange and was not of this world and after an altercation she left the house in the car. I continued to drink and pass out; she got into a car wreck and was Baker acted into the Pavilion (involuntarily committed).
I had my last drink on May, 8, 2005 and on the morning of May, 9, 2005 I experienced a moment of clarity in which I could see with perfect sight the life I had created for myself and how I was killing myself and enabling self destructive behavior in others. I was suddenly overcome with shame, guilt, and remorse with an intensity I have never before felt. I detoxed at home and it was hell and while still trembling on May, 11, 2005 I entered the Crossroads Group and asked for help.
My wife has completed an in-patient rehab treatment and is actively pursuing a life "Clean and Serene" in another fellowship one day at a time and is active in her program, currently Secretary of her group. I have completed the steps and work them daily. I strive to actively practice the principles in the AA program on a daily basis and currently serve the fellowship in capacity as Secretary of my group.
I relearned when a relapse starts (before the first drink). There were some things contributing to my relapse - I stopped praying, meditating, going to meetings, and step work. The result is the old thinking and ideas began to creep in. I once again became self-seeking and took my sobriety for granted and grew complacent. I stopped enlarging my spiritual life - I became spiritually dead.
I cannot bring back the past and believe it is best released, forgiven, and forgotten, only recalled for the purpose of showing others how help was received. My wisest action is to use the tools of the AA program to reach the maturity and well-being that brings happiness and sense of purpose into my life - one day at a time.
My life continues to improve today with the help of my Higher Power, 12 Steps, AA Fellowship, and sponsor. I have a whole new attitude today and I am reminded of my number one priority - My SOBRIETY.