I thought that alcoholics had all gone through something terrible that made them drink. But I had no situation to blame for my alcoholism, I come from a nice home, with good parents. I just liked alcohol. I started drinking to excess in my 20s and, when I drank, I felt cleverer and more popular. But once I’d started, I couldn’t stop. When my money ran out, I’d lie and steal to get more. My alcoholism led to me losing friends, by being unreliable and telling lies to make myself more interesting. Then I’d feel bad and avoid people. I drank beer and spirits. I binged at weekends, or drank in the morning and all the way through the day.
Then five years ago, I realised I couldn’t keep up with my life any more. That’s what made me finally call the AA helpline.
I expected to be told I didn’t have a real problem. Instead, the man listened to me and said, ‘That’s what it was like for me, too.’
My heart sank. I didn’t want to be an alcoholic. But I went to an AA meeting the next day. Men and women were there on their lunch hours, talking honestly about their feelings.
I walked home relieved. These people had drunk like me, but they weren’t drinking now. I’ve been sober for five years now. If I don’t like the way I’m feeling, I am tempted to drink. But now I can stop myself. I’ve lasted longer than I ever thought I would and life just keeps getting better, one day at a time.
Yvonne, 37, Northumberland