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Overwhelmed by the Love

Viv, Australia

I live in a rural city called Bathurst, which is about 200 kilometers west of Sydney in the State of New South Wales. I was born and raised in Sydney and moved to the country fourteen years ago. I spent a number of years in a small town called Mudgee and two years in a similarly sized town called Young.

I came to Alcoholics Anonymous this time through The e-AA Group. I'm thirty-nine years old and live with my partner and my two beautiful boys, Leighton (aged two) and Declan (aged one). I'm a solicitor (an attorney for those of you in the United States) and the proprietor of my own legal practice. I am forever grateful for my sobriety and to A.A.

I had the usual story of the slow downhill slide into alcoholism. Until I was about nineteen years old I didn't drink at all. My father was an alcoholic, and I was scared off the stuff. I began drinking occasionally on weekends with friends and somehow would manage to get really blotto at times. My friends seemed to be able stop. On one of my early ventures I came close to having my stomach pumped in Melbourne, where I'd gone for a student conference. In those early days I could go for weeks, and even months, without drinking.

After I got married I moved to the country and lived in a small rural village of about one hundred people. We had a pub, which was the center of social life. We'd go there every Friday night for a few drinks. I managed never to get drunk in the pub, and for years I could return home and not drink there either. Then I began drinking at home after returning from the pub. Eventually, I drank until I passed out, usually well into the early hours of Saturday morning and long after my husband had gone to bed. Gradually, the drinking increased, and I'd frequently end up rotten drunk mid week.

My marriage broke down in a horrendous and messy way, and I moved to Bathurst. I was locked out of my home and left only with my business possessions. My husband installed his parents as guards and never again let me into the house. I was handed bags of clothes and shoes and nothing else. I spent years fighting in the courts and ended up physically and emotionally drained. It didn't help that I represented myself, thereby removing objectivity.

I fell deeper into the hole of alcoholism. My new partner drank, and we became great drinking buddies. I used alcohol to numb me from the pain. I began to drink every day and would even start when I was at work. I had an automobile accident coming home one night and was cited for driving under the influence. In addition to losing my license for fourteen months, the accident cost me seven thousand dollars in repairs to motor vehicles and countless dollars in taxi fares. I also had a “please explain” request from the body that regulates legal practitioners.

I managed to stay sober for three months after the accident. Then a further series of traumas sent me back to the bottle. Within six months I was back to my old ways. My partner read me the riot act, and I realized that if I didn't stop drinking I'd end up with no family. I found The e-AA Group on the Web, entered the chat room, and was overwhelmed by the loving and helpful people there. That was eight months ago.

Today, my sobriety has to be the most important thing in my life.

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