When I got to the rehab I was totally lost and confused. We shared dorms, we had to do "chores" we were expected to have a group meeting before breakfast then in group therapy sessions and other sessions throughout the day and in the evening do "step work" ready for group etc. You were locked out of the dorm for 14 hours or so a day forcing you to interact with the others so that you could never isolate. I was cut off pretty much from my family apart from a call home in the evening and them visiting once a week on a Sunday for lunch. My wife decided to never bring my daughter who was 8 at the time. All that was very heartbreaking, one thing I realised although I should have known was how much my family really meant to me. Of course my wife couldn't readily understand why I needed to go off with a bunch of strangers to just do what she'd been telling me to do for years, i.e. stop bloody drinking!
It was hard work in the rehab. However quickly I sussed the following.
- any drink will set off a reaction in me leading to me drinking more. I can't drink one drink safely
- I drink because I struggle with life, no more than any others but drink is a superb method for me of changing that feeling or blotting it all out altogether. I simply need coping mechanisms that don't employ alcohol
- the programme was the AA one and that going to AA was going to need to be in the future plans
- I wasn't the only one who was like this. There were plenty of others out there all with similar confusion in their heads.
- honesty. I needed to stop lying to everyone, most importantly to stop lying to myself.
Today I'm sober. I work hard at being grateful for my life. I go to AA regularly, I don't think about it I just go. There I hear other people with similar nonsense in their heads. They stay sober by doing some simple things. I listen. I share some of my stuff, esp the nonsense in my head that I know will drive me back to drink. The major things in life I can cope with normally though a broken shoelace or someone not holding a door open for me - that is what could make me drink again. Or simply not being prepared for the first drink to arrive in my hand. I'm just an alcoholic it is the easiest thing in the world to put a drink inside me I have to work daily to ensure I don't let that happen or at least have the sense to run like hell if it looks like it is about to.
I have a stunning relationship with my wife and my kids. I cannot begin to describe how valuable that is to me. I have a great relationship back with my brother.
I am beginning to know who I am, the real me. What is important to me and what isn't. I learn to not get embroiled in stuff I can do nothing about. I can only change me and work at my reaction to things. Sometimes inside I'm hurting over something I have to try hard outwardly to not show that as that is the best way.
But today - today is another great day. So far today I've not taken a drink and that gives me endless opportunities. If I drink on any day then frankly all those opportunities will disappear.
I'm very very lucky since I haven't drunk since Friday May 14th 2004 so today is my 6th AA birthday.