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The 3rd part of my journey in sobriety

March 2008
After Id done the alcoholism questionnaire I was full of fear, I was crying, and I was drunk.  I scoured the internet looking for a number for AA here in Spain.  Its actually very easy to find, but because of the state I was in I couldnt find anything.  I became frantic and phoned The Samaritans suicide hotline in the UK and cried and ranted to them for a while.  Eventually I found a telephone number for an English AA meeting here in Spain and that was the first time I spoke to Mike.  

I think its safe to say that Mike was not too hopeful about me when we first spoke.  He sounded a little exasperated by my sobbing, and when I told him I had no transport available to me he said I had no chance of staying sober if I couldnt get to AA meetings.  This completely terrified me and I went into a bit of a meltdown and got hysterical. He promised to ring me the next day when I was sober.

The next few days are a bit of a blur.  I know that Mike phoned me every day, more than once, and that he quickly became aware of how desperately I wanted to stay sober.  I remember pacing up and down my hallway frantically whilst talking to Mike, just trying to get through the next 5 minutes without a drink.   I remember listening to his words of wisdom and his soothing voice and just knowing that I didnt stand a chance if I didnt have him to talk to.  I know that I read the 12 Steps of AA and despite the fact that Ive been an outspoken atheist my whole life I didnt bat an eyelid when I read the word "God" here and there in the Steps.  That shows the level of my desperation . . . I could not care less what I had to do to stay sober.  If I was going to have to pray, then pray I would. Suddenly it just didnt matter what I did and didnt believe in.  I HAD to stay sober at any cost and there was no way I could do it with willpower.

My withdrawal from alcohol was pretty horrible again and I didnt even think to write about it at the time. I was barely able to function at all.  But a few days into my sobriety I started to write emails and then I joined forums for alcoholics in recovery.  So I have a pretty good record of my journey.  There will be some editing here and there so as not to break anyones anonymity, alcoholics and non alcoholics alike.

March 16th 2008
"Hi Mike.  Ive had quite a good evening, mainly thanks to your tip about having plenty of sweet stuff.  I felt really anxious and bad for a little while and so I went on the hunt for lots of sugary stuff and feel fine again now.  Ive avoided sugar for years, but now I really need it to help with these cravings.  I dont want to get fat, but more than anything I dont want to get drunk, so Ill have the sugar and not waste time worrying about my weight.

I can already see the need for having support from other recovering alcoholics and am so glad that I found you.  I will try hard not to use up too much of your valuable time though as I know you are helping lots of other people too.  I really wish there were meetings here that I could go to.  If there was transport available I would be willing to travel a long way to get to one, but that option isnt available to me.  I know I must put some serious effort into this if Im to have any hope without face to face contact with other recovering alcoholics.  Right now I dont feel like I want to be around anyone who isnt a recovering alcoholic.  I don´t even want to speak to my "normal" friends on the phone.    

After my experience last week when I tried to stop Im now realistic enough to know that even though Im feeling positive and almost excited about the prospect of a life without alcohol right now, tonight or tomorrow could be a very different story.  So, I was thinking, because you are busy helping lots of other people and I dont want to be bothering you all of the time, do you know of anyone who would be willing to have contact with me and effectively be my sponsor via telephone and email?   It would help me to feel a part of A.A.  It would give me an additional recovering alcoholic to speak to, which would really help.  Thanks again Mike for your wonderful support and kindness.  It means everything to me right now."

March 20th 2008
Hi Jenny, How wonderful of you to contact me!  I cant wait to check out the websites and forums youve told me about.  Thank you so, so much for getting me an invite to that private forum.  Its good to know that only recovering alcoholics whove been referred can have access to it, that makes me feel like its a safe environment to talk about my feelings and thoughts.

Today completes 5 days of sobriety for me.  It was only 6 days ago that I was finally left with no other alternative than to admit Im an alcoholic.  Quite a sobering thought!!  Today has been the best Ive felt so far and at times I can honestly say I have felt some peace.  I havent felt any peace in my life ever before.  This feeling for me is going to be more addictive than alcohol or drugs, its something Ive been craving for years and now Ive had a glimpse of it I want more and more of it.

I feel such an overwhelming sense of relief to discover Im an alcoholic.  I can now give up the struggle of attempting to moderate my drinking (Its not worked for the last 26 years so I think its a good assumption that it will never work!).  No more waking up with that terrible feeling of self loathing and confusion.  No more thinking that Im going crazy.  For the first time in many years Im getting a decent nights sleep, and hey, I can dream again and Id forgotten what that was like.

Of course Im having some bad moments but I just read a bit more of the Big Book online or pick up the phone to Mike, have a bath, pace around the house, or eat chocolate . . . . and before I know it the feeling has passed.  Now and then for minutes at a time I can even forget this all consuming thing that Im experiencing.  I was going to start writing a journal but nothing has materialized yet because Im just soaking up the peace, and then when Im feeling frazzled and anxious Im not capable of doing anything constructive at all.

Im so grateful for the support that Mike has given me.  As Im sure you can understand, sometimes the only other person I want to open my heart to is another recovering alcoholic.  Non alcoholics may try to understand but it seems to me that most of them just think I´m weak and if only I had a bit more will power everything would be ok. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!!!!!

Youve been sober for over 17 years and that gives me so much hope for myself.  Im not able to go to meetings as I live in a remote village in the middle of nowhere.  I live alone with just my animals for company.  I have no car and there is no transport system available.  I have no job and cannot afford to move at the moment.  The village is full of bars and very little else.  I feel so alone and vulnerable.  

Anyway, I’ve rambled on for long enough. Thanks so much for throwing me another life line.  

March 21st 2008.
Hi, I was just reading the forum for the first time and saw your post from a few days ago.  I hope you dont mind me emailing you.  I dont know if I can help you but all I want to do right now is hold out my hand to you.

I dont know how long you have been sober but I expect it is much longer than me. I only have 6 days today.  Maybe one day I will be feeling the way you are feeling now, but today my head is in a good place.  Today I have the one thing I cherish above all else.   Today I have peace of mind.

I too have been suicidal many times in the past when I was drinking.  My drinking career has been a long one.  I really DO know how you are feeling.  I even got to the point where I had written my suicide letters.  That was only 3 weeks ago.  Today I am SO glad I never took that final step.  

Please do not choose a permanent solution to a temporary problem.  Tomorrow is always only a day away and who knows how different things could look then?

Ive been an outspoken atheist my whole life but today Im desperate enough to at least open up my mind to the possibility of some sort of higher power, it does sound crazy to me, but Im willing to take a look because I really dont have any other option now as far as I can see.  Im trying to forget about a higher power as an outside concept.  Why cant that higher power be something you find within yourself?  Our brains have such a vast untapped potential.  If I learn to change the pictures and sounds in my mind I may be able to get conscious control over my life.  The way I feel from moment to moment is a direct result of the pictures and sounds Im making in my mind.  

Nothing upsets me more quickly than a few critical comments made by the wrong person at the wrong time (actually, if I am honest, I cant take ANY criticism!!), but the worst critic I will ever encounter is the one who lives inside my own mind.  The way I talk to myself has a profound impact on my emotional state.  I always get more of what I focus on in life and if I continue to focus only on the negative then I will only have negativity in my life.  I never actually realized I had a choice over what goes on in my head, its a revelation to me.

I hope you dont find any of this patronizing, it really isnt meant to be.  Im learning this from the only person Ive spoken to in AA so far, hes been sober for almost 30 years and hes so full of wisdom.  I just wanted to share with you something thats REALLY helping me in a big way, in the hope that it will help you too.  I need peace in my life and Ive certainly never found it at the bottom of a glass or with any of the other substances Ive taken.  Ive spent years lurching from one disaster to another.  Chaos is all Ive really known.  Im sick and tired of being sick and tired.  I HAVE to find another way.  I really hope you find a way of climbing out of this hell you are in.  If I can offer you any support at all then that will also help me with what Im going through.

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