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Beautiful Butterfly Within

Laura, Canada

My name is Laura and I am a grateful alcoholic. My Date Of Sobriety is Jan 28, 2006. I have come so far in such a short time when I believed my life was hopeless. But I found these rooms and discovered "I am not alone."

My alcoholism found me living in the streets and I had lost everything. Husband/marriage of 40 years, 2 adult children, 2 grandchildren and a beautiful golden retriever, Athena, the goddess of watchfulness and wisdom.

But what I did have was that I was sober 24 hours. I could have had the biggest pity party, since so many secrets were coming out about this "made for television" family. But I always believed in angels, and this psychologist had told me a few months before that maybe I needed to detach from my family, and I needed to attend 2 AA meetings a week.

I am not an alcoholic because of this or that. I had a beautiful childhood, very loved, got married, travelled the world, had a girl and a boy, a husband who loved me. No excuses! I believe I was born that way!

A lot of times I did not feel that I was good enough. Perfection was my #1 flaw. It has taken the fellowship to reassure me that this is who I am, I need a little remoulding but it is okay to be me. It is okay to say "No". It is okay to ask for help. It is okay to admit that I was wrong, that I make mistakes.

I started drinking at the age of 38. Up to that point I had no desire for alcohol or any mind altering substance. My husband did alot of travelling, my kids were away at school, I was working for a doctor and that little sip of brandy felt good. So good -- down to my toes good. Bring me more.

Then the obsession of the mind, where I could justify every one of my binges. I never missed work because of drinking, never was drunk at any social function. Hated those social functions and would reward myself drinking alone after. Congratulating myself that I did good.

For 20 years I had binges where my children and husband made excuses for me that I had the flu, but in reality, had blacked out/ passed out or was violently ill in my bedroom. They enabled me for so long. And yet knew just how to push my buttons. Then I would plan my next drunk. Such insanity. Alcohol in--God out!

Fast forward! We lost everything due to my husband's gambling addiction, lifestyle and loss of job. I had 2 detached retinas and lost my vision. This caused us to move in with our son and family and for me to become chief cook, babysitter, house cleaner etc.

It did not work. One year later my son kicked me out into the street; I had been drinking, which I had promised not to do. My kids, who drink, had no quarrel with me drinking, but "just drink sensible." We alcoholics do not know "sensible," it is not in our vocabulary.

My journey led me to a shelter, where I lived for for 11 months. There Sr. Theresa gave me a book for women and meditation. Randomly I opened a page and read something like "take this sh-t and use it for fertilizer."

I was asked to come back to that shelter on their 10th anniversary and be a speaker at their celebration. Today I live in a rooming house for "hard to place people". I am collecting a disability for my loss of eyesight, am a director for this rooming house of 65 people, of whom some are actively struggling with addictions. God has been good to me. I have been given a 2nd chance.

My husband chooses his other lifestyle. My children and grandchildren are still very distant but for today that is okay. They do not believe in the concept of AA and this "god" thing. If only I could drink sensible. But they asked that I get help and stay sober. That's what I have done -- yet they are so non-caring and/or angry.

This is my biggest puzzle. But I have to believe that He does have a plan. All I can do is the "do" things and practice love, patience and tolerance. All will come together in God's time.

Through all this my Mom, 85 years old, blind and in a wheelchair, has been my pillar of strength. I have been blessed. My family of origin have not picked sides but they are proud, that yes I have a problem, it is called Alcoholism, it runs in our family. But I was willing to surrender and let God be my guide when I lived in the streets. I had nothing but I felt soooo rich. I was sober and I did not even ask.

The obsession is gone! As long as I connect with my sponsor, go to meetings, read the BB, pray -- you know, all the "do" things.

I could not take my golden retriever with me on this journey. There are tears when I write this, but the family's choice was not to keep her. My son does not like dogs and it was his home. Two months clean and sober I had to sign papers prepared by my husband, consenting to giving her away. I almost picked up over that, for I could see the black hole again.

But I was so quick to respond, got back to the shelter, talked it over with counsellors and, sober, signed the papers. Signed with the request that she be given to this specific agency. You see, Athena worked with me before we moved in with my son at Dog Guides of Canada. This was what she was bought for, this was her journey -- her journey to help others.

At 2 months sober, I knew I was missing something in the program. Something was not right. I needed to do as it was suggested, to get a sponsor. That was when my sponsor came into my life and she is definitely one of God's angels. Trust is a big word for me, but I found it with her and working the steps.

I love the spiritual metamorphosis in that what the caterpillar thinks is the end, we call the butterfly. Walk by faith and not by sight. After the result of a very long journey, like the caterpillar, find the beautiful butterfly within ourselves.

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