My name is Marie, and I’m a recovering alcoholic!
I’d like to tell you my story, what happened, and what its like now.
I am an only child whose parents didn’t drink – well, maybe one little scotch on special occasions like News Years. I was never exposed to alcohol until I met my husband who was then a social drinker. I joined in the social drinking but alcohol was not a problem in my life. Over time I found that I had become the designated driver as my husband didn’t know when enough was enough.
When I was 60 I was offered early retirement from my teaching job and it seemed a good idea at the time. Monetarily, I was going to be ok so I had planned well there. What I didn’t plan was what I was going replace my teaching with. I thought that my husband and I would go off into the sunset together, but he had his own plans and I was not a part of them.
The first morning of my retirement I read the paper, did the crossword puzzle and then said to my husband “What happens now?” He replied, “This is it!”. You can imagine how I felt.
Over the next few weeks I became so depressed. With all that time on my hands, I began to really look at our marriage and it started to disintegrate before my eyes. I felt so unloved, unwanted, unappreciated and unneeded. It was not a very pleasant time for me at all.
I just let alcohol take over and didn’t care what happened. I guess my husband (a drinker himself) must have had some feeling for me because one day he said to me; “You have a problem”.
I knew I had a problem but didn’t want to face up to it. After I thought about it, I said I’d heard that people who have a drinking problem can go to AA for help, so maybe I should call my his friend Sandy. He’s been sober for 10 years so maybe he can take me to a meeting.
I did this and went to my first A.A. meeting. I can’t honestly say that I enjoyed it. The people there spoke of losing everything and I still had everything; my house, my car and my husband. Sandy said to try to see the similarities and not the differences. He also suggested that I try several meetings until I found one where I was comfortable and urged me to look for someone who had a good sobriety record to become my sponsor.
I did find a group where I felt at home and was fortunate to find a long time member of A.A. who was willing to mentor me.
My husband was still drinking, so it was quite hard for me to stay on the wagon. I did have a slip from time to time, and my husband’s comment was “I don’t know what your going to A.A. for, you haven’t learned anything”. I would reply, “what about you?” and he would say, “I’m not an alcoholic – I go to the pub to drink; you drink at home and hide your bottles!”. So I was living with this person in denial who gave me no support at all.
I also realized that all of his friends were far more important than me. It made me feel unworthy and rejected. When I had thoughts of drinking, I called my sponsor who would talk to me and sometimes we went out for a coffee or to another meeting. This helped me over the difficult times. I could try to figure out what triggered the idea.
I also had to cope with my husband being a diabetic...a diabetic who was still having a few drinks. I knew how much damage he was doing to himself and I was frustrated and angry at his attitude. All this made it difficult to stay sober, but I managed to hang on. Inevitably my husband's kidneys and liver gave up and he passed away quite suddenly.
After he died, so many of my living problems were removed and I began to plan the rejuvenation of my life. (I do not have any children, so have only myself to think of) One thing I discovered is that I do not need a man to affirm who I am. I got involved in a Scottish Choir; found a friend who liked to play par-3 golf and started going to the symphony and theatre. I even began driving some older friends to doctors appointments and to get groceries.
Through my association with A.A. I have come to believe in a higher power and I know, with a God as I understand him, that I am never alone.
A couple of years ago I was introduced to SWAP (Seniors Well Aware Program) and I find the meetings very interesting and instructive. I can also help others by sharing my experiences by becoming involved with the SWAP Players, a group of members that turn our stories into theatre skits.
I have also met a very good soul-mate in my SWAP group and we share a lot with each other. Now when I have a desire to drink (which is not too often nowadays) I get on the phone to my friend, or meditate or take the dog for a walk. This helps the feeling to pass.
I am now almost the free spirit I was before I was married and am alive again and having fun!
Page last updated Sunday, 31 October 2004
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