Recently I’ve been approached by folks inquiring about guest-posting their experiences on Guinevere Gets Sober, as well as exchanging posts with their blogs. One of these folks is Sally, who blogs about health at Eat Breathe Blog. She’s also a recovering alcoholic who wanted to tell the story of what it’s like to have a “turning point.” I’ll also be blogging for Sally at some point…
My favorite line in this blog: “Typically, when I get arrested, I snap out of my blackout—but not this time.” Wow. Thanks, Sally.
Guest-posting is a fabulous part of being part of the blogging culture. If you’d like to guest-post here, email me at guinevere (at) guineveregetssober (dot) com.
What My Bottom Looked Like
My bottom looked like this: I was facing years in a federal prison, after years of getting arrested on various alcohol and drug related charges. In the end, I had three different counties wanting to lock me up for good. I had lost the faith of a loving family, all my friends looked at me as a sick person and I hit a place of spiritual bankruptcy that was more emotionally taxing than anything I had ever experienced in my life.
And I was only 21.
My life was headed down a road of destruction and failure, and everyone knew it but me. I could not bring myself to distinguish the truth from the false, and the truth about my life was that it was plummeting to a place of no return. I was headed toward prison, yet I still felt invincible. Alcohol consumed my every thought. I loved to drink. I love the effect produced by alcohol. I drank essentially to produce that effect. Once I took the first drink, I couldn’t stop. An obsession came over me and at that point, no amount of will power could keep me from heading off on another spree.
That’s exactly what happened the night of August 2, 2008. I woke out of a blackout in mid-conversation with a Hispanic guy, and I was yelling at him: “Speak English, dammit!” This man turned out to be a fellow cell-mate because, you guessed it, I was in jail again. No idea how I’d gotten there. That blackout was one of the worst of my life. It was long, six to eight hours in duration, and I remembered literally nothing. Typically, when I get arrested, I snap out of my blackout—but not this time. The last thing I remembered was the obsession to drink that took over my body, and I was staring down a bottle of vodka. That had been about six hours earlier, and at this point, I felt like my life was over.
Suicide became my only thought. Ideas of facing—yet again—the consequences of my actions, overwhelmed me, and I didn’t want to do it. It was at this exact moment that the thoughts came to me:
I am an alcoholic. … I can’t drink normally. … I’ve never been arrested sober. … I have to stop drinking.
It was that easy, but then again—I couldn’t imagine living without alcohol.
Eventually, they let me out of jail, and I went straight to a rehabilitation hospital for alcohol addiction. That night, I attended my first AA meeting, with an honest desire not to drink. This desire had come over me when I was in jail that last time—it was the first of many spiritual experiences. It became clear to me: If I were to eliminate alcohol from my life—I wouldn’t be in the situation I was in. I never got arrested sober, because when I was sober I never broke the law. I haven’t taken a drink since.
I was introduced to the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous, whose members introduced me to the program of Alcoholics Anonymous and its 12 steps to recovery. The 12 steps in turn introduced me to a God of my own understanding, through whom I found the power to solve all my problems. I found this God in working the steps. He was inside me the entire time. In my first spiritual experience, I realized that through all my trials and tribulations in life—God was there, guiding me through. I guess my God realized that the only way I was ever going to gain the willingness to throw myself into the steps was to suffer a severe amount of pain—so he gave that to me.
Through the steps I’ve experienced several spiritual experiences and have since recovered from the “seemingly hopeless state of mind and body” that is alcoholism. I gained a sense of belief, and eventually faith, that has forever changed my outlook on life. I was given a new will to live. I had recovered from alcoholism.
I will always be an alcoholic. I will never be able to successfully take another drink of alcohol without setting the cycle of physical illness and mental obsession. AA’s program lets me experience true happiness. There is one small requirement that is asked of me: that I share my experience with other people in hopes that they too can recover from alcoholism. I am always here for anyone that reaches out.