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Grapevine : June 2011
I began trying to save money, try- ing to control my drinking, but it was too hard. In Australia, my partner had to support us. I would show my grati- tude by deriding her friends as boring because they drank sensibly, emotion- ally bullying her, and accusing her of liking someone else when I was the one who’d been unfaithful. She left me. Well, at least I could drink every night and not get nagged. I was living in a tiny flat with cigarette butts and beer cans littering the floor. I ate little and lost a lot of weight. It felt like no one cared and the entire world was against me. Fear and isolation destroyed the potential for any friendships. I decided to re- turn to England and get support from my family. I finally made it to an AA meeting, but I walked out and decid- ed I just wasn’t as bad as these people. So, I borrowed ten thousand dollars from my mum, promised her I was done with drinking and went back to Australia. I was drunk the first night. Soon, the money ran out. I somehow managed to scramble a job. The tedium of life and work started again and so did my daily drinking. Often, I would call home with some lie to get my mum to send money. Drinking alone in my room, I would try to hide the empties in the recycle bin and under my bed. I was neglecting my health and felt like death most of the time. Drinking al- lowed me to indulge in long-winded self-pity scenarios. I was just endur- ing life, watching others with resent- ment and envy. One weekend, I met a girl. We got on well and drank the same, so I pinned all my hopes and dreams on her. But, my mask slipped in a drunken stupor and I verbally abused her. She dumped me and I went into an emotional free fall. Suicide became an option. I couldn’t drink, but couldn’t fathom not drinking. Scrambling for the phone book, I called a helpline. A nice guy listened, taking me back through my life, and got me to see the common destructive thread was alcohol. I decided to give AA an- other go. For once in my life, I didn’t run, although I was scared. I got a home group and a sponsor. I was blessed with the gift of desperation. I also took my first tentative steps toward prayer and getting a Higher Power of my own understanding, which I’ve found more beneficial as the days stack up. AA gave me hope. I have a family now and a beautiful daughter, Grace, on whom I dote. Today, I believe life isn’t to be en- dured, but lived ... to the fullest. Anonymous Drinking alone in my room, I would try to hide the empties in the recycle bin and under my bed. 40 June 2011 GRAPE_39-40.indd 40 4/21/11 4:05 PM