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Grateful to be a member of A.A.

Missy, North Carolina

I was raised in a loving family that had emotional problems. My dad worked all the time and my mom suffered from depression. From a young age I remember not feeling right. In fact, I used to drink cough medicine when I was 4 years old because I wanted to Ďfeel betterí which is what my mom always told me when I was sick and needed cough medicine.

My first drink was at age 16. I was babysitting and found their liquor cabinet. I mixed drinks with soda and spent a lot of time on the phone and eventually threw up and had my dad come down and watch the kids while I went home and went to bed. Nobody knew what had happened. I believe I drank alcoholically that very first time. I drank only for the effect it gave me and it changed my personality to outgoing from my usual quiet self.

I didnít really drink that much in high school but when I did I would get drunk and enjoyed the feeling very much.

When I got to college I really wasnít prepared to be thrown into that world. I missed home terribly and was so homesick my roommate thought I wouldnít make it. I soon hooked up with a guy who liked to drink and smoke pot. I didnít get into smoking pot but I started drinking heavily and stopped being homesick all the time.

For the next 3 years in college I drank very heavily. My drink of choice was vodka and I would do shots. Usually it was a pint a day 5 or 6 days a week. I especially remember drinking on Thursdays to get my ĎCosby Showí buzz (that dates me, doesnít it?). I have been to class drunk, have drunk during class with spiked drinks and missed class due to being drunk. I even failed one class because I stayed home to get high rather than attend my final exam .

Even the guy I was dating who partied very heavily tried to control my drinking and weíd have furious fights about it. At some point I went to the library to research alcoholism to see if I was one and took that little quiz they give you to see if you have a drinking problem and found that I did. I went to a counselor on campus who guided me to AA but I resisted going and after seeing him a few weeks told him I was ok and didnít need him anymore when the truth was that I hadnít stopped drinking. I suspected I was an alcoholic.

Usually I sobered up during the summertime when I was home with my parents. After my junior year I turned 21 and could buy alcohol myself. I began buying it on Friday nights and drinking. One night I got so drunk my parents knew something was wrong with me and asked me if I was doing drugs. I told them no, I was drinking. They asked why. I said ĎBecause Iím an alcoholic.í The next day they told me that I had an adult problem and was going to have to handle it like an adult. So I went to see their counselor who referred me to AA and I found the rooms of AA.

I embraced AA through my entire senior year. I stayed sober and hung around AA people all the time while still dating my boyfriend who was still drinking and smoking.

After I graduated I moved in with my boyfriend and stayed sober. He was keeping vodka in the house and it didnít bother me. 5 months into living with him the relationship fell apart for which I kiss the ground and thank God to this day.

I met my husband at church and married him and we had a nice life. I was going to meetings sporadically by this time. After college I never really plugged back in to AA the same way I did in college.

I went on to have children and suffered my first serious depression after my son was born. I went on antidepressants. I was on and off them for several years. One time when I was put back on them I got a buzz and wanted more of one so I took some over the counter medication to give me that buzz. I was probably 11 years sober at that time.

I started taking over the counter medications on a regular basis, i.e. every day. It caused me to have big highs and big lows. I was diagnosed bipolar and suicidal and spent a week in a mental hospital. My husband had a kidney transplant during that year. My sisterís husband committed suicide. My behavior didnít change. I would sleep for days at a time, not caring for my children who were quite young.

At some point I figured I might as well drink because the over-the-counter meds I was taking contained alcohol. I began drinking occasionally. It escalated. My family confronted me and I lied. Then I was at a party where my sister was and I snuck two beers and she saw me and confronted me and I couldnít lie about it. Another sister called and told me it was the worst thing I had ever done. She was really hateful.

At that point in 1996 I began attending meetings again. I would go and fall off and drink again. My drinking depended on whether or not I attended meetings. Finally I wasnít going at all and was drinking more and more frequently hiding it from my husband or so I thought. He would confront me and I would lie. Finally at some point he said he didnít believe me and I came clean. He said I needed to go back to meetings which I did .

I got a good sponsor. She made me spend a month on step 1. She made me work the steps in a way I never had before. It was thorough. When my meetings started to drop off, she would confront me and I would step up my meetings again. Iím sober today because I listened to her and was honest with her. That was July 11, 2007 when I started back and I havenít had a drink since.

I canít say I always enjoy meetings but I never have had one I havenít gotten something out of. I feel I finally have a kit of spiritual tools that I actually use. My relationship with my Higher Power has been restored. I had always had a relationship with God but I felt I could be honest with Him and that changed everything.

I can honestly say Iím grateful today to be a member of AA.

Iím honored to be asked to share my experience strength and hope with you.

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