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Open Doors and Open Arms

Barbara, Wisconsin

Hi, I'm Barbara, a Grateful Alcoholic, and my Sobriety date is March 18, 2010.

I'm glad to be an alcoholic, because if I wasn't I wouldn't be able to tell you my story about how rough my life was, much less how rough any alcoholic's life is. You see, alcoholism is one illness that we all have today. And without us alcoholics there just are no stories to tell how we recover from our alcoholism. So that is why we need each other -- to help each other, as well as other alcoholics.

So here is how my story started. My life sucked and I hated it. I'm from a large family of thirteen, and I'm the second oldest in this family. I had to be a responsible adult in my teenage years. I had to be there for my oldest brother, because he has epilepsy. I had to stay home from school whenever he had seizures, and miss out on the after school activities as well.

In my late teens and early twenties, I had my first experience with alcohol. And that was when I would go out to the bars and have a drink. I had myself such a great time that I didn't want to stop. I felt it was great that I was able to escape from the family. While I was drinking I enjoyed myself and I was able to escape from my feelings and responsibilities for the family. In fact I had so much fun that I would drink the guys under the table. And when I wasn't allowed to get out to drink, I would sneak out of the house through my bedroom window and go right to the bars.

After a while, I moved out of the house, and lived above a bar, where I had access to more bars that I could walk to anytime I felt like it.

Well in my mild twenties, I found out that I was going to be a mother. But still I didn't want to stop drinking or partying. In fact, I would walk seven or eight miles on a Friday evening, just to get the free drink from the next town.

I was twenty-five when I had my first child, and that's when I found out that I was going to have her alone. Her father didn't want to have anything to do with her. And it made me so mad, but I still found a way to go out and party. Drinking was more important to me than my first child. I also discovered a new drug for me -- speed. I had a real good time drinking and doing drugs.

So when I turned thirty-one I found out that I was going to have my second child. A child I really didn't want in the first place, because then I would have to be responsible for two children and I wouldn't be able to party. So I thought of having an abortion with the second child -- in fact, I almost made an appointment for the abortion. But then I thought what the hell, I would be able to get more money for my drinking and partying.

By the year of 2000, I still didn't have enough with just my drinking, because I wasn't getting the buzz off of the alcohol anymore. So what I did was mixed some of my medicine with the alcohol. Man that was some buzz it gave me.

But in the middle of the buzz I didn't feel the best. So I went and called five people for help. And it took the fifth person to come and answer my call. Then she came to my house and stayed with me all night. But then on Monday morning, she went and called my doctor and told her just what I did two nights ago.

So that is when I found myself in the hospital on the Alcohol/Drug floor, where I went through the detox treatment for about two days. Then after that, I went through their alcohol program for about five days. And while I was in treatment I was told about AA meetings. So I went to the meetings, just to get out from the hospital.

When I went to the AA meetings, I wouldn't say anything, just sat there and listened to the others talk. Then I thought that I didn't need to go there because I didn't have a drinking problem. But I still went to the meetings just to make my two kids and my friends happy. And I found out that as long as I kept going to the AA meetings I could stay sober. This went on for at least three years.

But when 2003 came along, I was right back out there again. And that happened when I blamed it on the death of my grandmother, just because I couldn't take it. When me and the kids would go see her, she wouldn't remember us, so I felt that it wasn't fair to us. So that is when I stopped seeing her. When she died, I went to the bar, and got myself some alcohol, and sat by the fire pit, and drank it saying that I can't handle it anymore. But the alcohol tasted so good that I kept drinking it.

In fact, that is when I thought I didn't need AA anymore. So I was out there drinking for three and a half years. I thought that I couldn't go back through those doors again. In fact I was too ashamed of myself to go back to AA, because I felt that I failed them. But to my surprise, they welcomed me back with open doors and open arms.

When June of 2006 came, I was right back out there again. Because I wasn't ready to stop drinking. And this time instead of starting out slow, I went right into it full blast. This time it was because I couldn't handle being alone all of the time. So what I did was, I started out with a thirty-pack of beer every other day. But I still wasn't happy -- I had to have a thirty-pack or more a day.

I knew that I had to hide it from the kids, and the other people that knew me, so that they didn't know that I was back out there drinking. But by this time it wasn't so hard for me, because I was the only one in the house again. Rochelle was out on her own, and Richard was at the Boy Scout Camp.

But just before he came back home from camp, I went and called my doctor and told him just what I was doing. So he asked me what do I want to do? I told him that I needed help.

So I found myself right back up into treatment. But before I went back. I had to have more beer. So I went and got myself another thirty-pack and drank it for the weekend. While I was back in treatment for the second time, I end up going through detox again, and found myself staying in treatment for the full fourteen days. I also went to some AA meetings. But this time I tried to do some of the step work, by getting a sponsor. But she just didn't work out the best.

This time I was doing a little better than the first two years. I was told to go to ninety meetings in ninety days. If I didn't like it, they will give me back my problems. So I did the ninety meetings in ninety days, and I have to say that they helped out a lot and I was able to stay sober for another four years.

Close to the end of 2009, I found myself going out to Arizona, because I met a guy on line and he told me that he was sober and I believed him. But after I was out there, to my surprise I found out differently. And yes when I was out there, I found some AA meetings that I could go to.

After a while things turned around, because he started drinking. He would hit me and harass me. I would have called the cops, but didn't know where to go to get away from him. Plus he told me that if I called the cops, he would deny it all and blame it all on me. And then it was getting worse with him, so I wanted to go home, but he wouldn't let me go. So I called my daughter to help me come back home.

So in February of 2010, it took Rochelle, Richard and my nephew Ben to get me away from him. I stayed with my nephew Ben until the end of the month. And I was able to go back home to my family and my AA friends. But as soon as I got home I thought I could get rid of him. I guess I was wrong, because he would call me on the phone and harass me over the phone, yelling at me.

On March seventeenth of 2010, I was so upset that I went out to the bar and started drinking again. Just because I felt like I was being pushed and pulled around, by him, as well as from my two kids all at the same time.

The next day, on March eighteenth of 2010, I found the e-AA web site. And there were people in the rooms that I could talk to. Just because I wanted to talk instead of going to out drinking. I was looking for someone to talk to, because I didn't know what to do anymore.

So there was a lady in the rooms that I talked to. And this lady stayed with me all night on the phone, so that I was safe from myself. Then she became my sponsor, and we worked on some of the steps. And that is where I admitted and accepted that I am an alcoholic, and that I needed help. And have been working on the third step where I have found my Higher Power, which I call God.

Now I'm going to some face-to-face meetings that I enjoy going to. And one is the Big Book Study on Friday evenings. On Sunday morning is the open meeting, and there we talk just about anything, from the steps to our Higher Power. And it is a very good meeting, one that I like to go to. In fact the Sunday morning meeting is my home group meeting.

And I go to the Sunday evening Celebrate Recovery Meeting, where we will break the steps down to where we can understand them better. In fact, we are back to step one again, because we have gotten some newcomers to the evening group. And I find it a little easier for me to understand the steps when they are being broken down for understanding them.

In the year of 2011, I lost my middle brother due to a business accident. I was at an AA meeting when it happened. The people in the AA meetings have helped me out a lot. Just because they where here for me when I needed to talk. And I am so grateful that they were around for me. They will never leave me.

Just this year, 2012, I lost my father due to a heart attack in the hospital here. They thought he was doing so good. When he was in his room he was laughing and joking around. But when they left his room he went downhill fast. And it was my best friend from VA and all of you that has been here for me. I am just glad that I was sober when they both left me.

So I am grateful that I have this web site, and all the good people in here. And I am so grateful to be sober, because I have God as my Higher Power. And because of all you who are willing to be there and help one another out. I am also grateful that in five days from the date I am writing this, I am going to have my two years' sobriety birthday.

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