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Strangers who want to help

Hanna, New Jersey

I used to think life was too hard, so I hid from it in the bottle. I started drinking daily after my sister died. I had been drinking a lot for the prior two years over the loss of my mother and mother-in-law -- they died within a year and a half of each other. I didn't want to feel the pain so I numbed myself for the next 7 years.

I was a "functioning" alcoholic, or so I thought. But little by little I was losing myself. I felt no joy in anything. One day I woke up and the consequences of my drinking hit me. I was terrified that I would die this way, unhappy, selfish and drunk. This was not who I set out to be and I missed those feeling of happiness and laughter I used to experience.

I made a decision June 17, 2012 to get my life back. I found this site and AA meetings and I stayed. I thought it would be impossible for me to ever feel as optimistic as the people here. I couldn't conceive of ever feeling happy again.

I let strangers here care for me because I didn't know what to do next. These strangers seemed to know how I felt and what to do to get through the next 10 minutes. They gave me the courage to go to a meeting and there I found people from all different backgrounds and experiences who welcomed me, understood me and helped me get through those painful first few weeks.

There were days that I couldn't get off the couch, I was so tired but couldn't sleep. So I lay there and rested, it was the right thing for that moment in my recovery. I read the BB and watched inspirational programs. I knew I needed guidance if I were to really do this. I needed help so I did the next right thing and asked for it.

I still couldn't smile or feel happiness, but I stopped creating new problems because I stopped drinking. I truly used the one day at a time suggestion. I kept telling myself just get through today.

In the back of my mind I knew I could always take the pain away for the moment by a drink, but I realized that drink was only going to give me more pain in the form of remorse -- I always woke up remorseful after drinking.

I was so afraid I wouldn't be able to do this and that I had already lost too much. I thought I was hopeless, that I'd gone too far. But now I'm working at a new job with great people, my closest friend there is in the program. My family trusts me again and we're creating new memories while the old ones fade.

Still have no license, but I've learned acceptance. I finished my community service of 180 hours with the Red Cross and have continued to volunteer; it feels good to be of help.

I have recently found my smile, yep never thought me or anyone else was ever gonna see that again. It is possible to do this. There is a chance to live a content life if you are willing. I don't remember the exact date it happened for me, all I know is that I just kept going. I prayed for help and got it, by listening to my conscience and doing "the next right thing".

It is amazing to me now how simple it is. There are good people in this world who want to help. They are on this site and in the rooms of AA. We are here to help each other. (Notice I said "we" cause now I'm one of the strangers who wants to help!)

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