Sobriety has given me a life I’d never had – Nigel’s Story

I had my first drink at about the age of 8, a babycham taken from the fridge without my parents knowing, until the following day by finding the empty bottle in the bin. I remember the feeling of that alcohol to this day.

I was often given a glass of wine when I went out for dinner with my parents from the age of around 12 – it seems strange now but at the time it wasn’t. I always liked the feeling and taste of alcohol but never drank much until my mid-20s, partly as a reward for working hard and definitely for the feeling it gave me. Rarely, if ever, was I happy with just the one drink.

I was happily married at 25 and was working hard, after I left home my parents went through a rough time and both used to ditch on us and it was then my drinking increased. My mum sadly passed away when I was 30 and that’s when my drinking really increased. I was so depressed and anxious and was already a functioning alcoholic. I visited my GP who took one look at my liver reading and sent me to an addiction psychiatrist. I was asked questions like ‘have you ever taken a morning drink?’ I was promptly diagnosed as an alcoholic and sent for treatment.

Rarely, if ever, was I happy with just the one drink.

It was May and approaching a busy time at work, I couldn’t find the time for my treatment! By July I was on my knees begging to go. I hadn’t fully realised I couldn’t drink safely again and came out after 28 days and picked that first drink up soon after. It didn’t take long for me to end up back where I’d left off, only this time worse.

By November, having been completely beaten by the disease of alcoholism, I fully conceded I was indeed an alcoholic and could never drink safely again. I was very honest this time and relieved I was able to be so. I came out of treatment and attended Alcoholics Anonymous every day, then 6 times a week for 18 months or so before dropping my meeting to two or three times a week. I got a sponsor, got to know my fellow alcoholics in recovery, and got honest. I had to keep away from places that sold alcohol with the occasional exception of having the odd meal out.

I feel grateful every single day and grateful for the fellowship of AA 

I went to Florida on my first sober holiday and went to the most amazing AA meeting which I’ve attended many times since, making lifelong friends along the way. Acceptance is still a daily thing in many ways except it is accepting I am indeed powerless not only of drink but in many cases, of people, places, and things.

Sobriety has given me a life I’d never had and to this day I feel grateful every single day and grateful for the fellowship of AA  and life skills I’ve learned over the 22 years I’ve been sober, one day at a time.

When I go to bed at night after not having had a drink, no matter what, it’s been a good day.

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