What Does An Alcoholic Look Like??? –
Sarah Lynn H.
I am truly blessed to have spoken with a woman who has received a new life thanks to the sobriety and recovery she found at the hands of Alcoholics Anonymous and her devotion to prayer. I am inspired by every word and I am happy she wanted to share a piece of what she has been through and learned so far on her journey of recovery. Even an alcoholic can learn new tricks and Sarah has learned so many. She challenges herself daily, sets goals and ways to track her achievements. She has found new ways to celebrate her wins, big and small and to always help others through selfless acts of kindness. Unfortunately, Sarah had to experience a great deal of pain and loss before becoming the wonderful recovering alcoholic she is today.
All my life and especially when i was drinking my emotions were all around me and all over the place. They were bouncing off the walls of the room I isolated myself in. I was married for 26 years and a great deal of my dependence rested on the shoulders of my husband and my children. Always everything that was going on around me, but never me. After I lost my husband and the children had all grown up and were out of the home, I was lost.
I had always measured my life, measured my worth on whether I had a husband who was happy, if I had happy and content children, if everyone else was doing well. I never stopped to consider myself and that I was slowly giving away pieces of me a little at a time until I woke up and had no idea where my self worth had gone. I had become so damaged that I could not recognize when someone was trying to help me and would lash out at them, push them away, isolate and drink.
I put everything I thought I should be, my value, in the opinions of other people. I convinced myself I was going to be “punished” for not “doing enough” so I simply came to a point where I stopped trying all together. I had literally no idea where to even begin to answer the questions of “What did I want for my life?”, “What makes me happy?” and I was so hopeless as to how to figure that out. When you place all of your self-esteem and will to live in everyone else’s hands they will eventually drop it like a used up tissue. When my children no longer needed me to move through life, they unknowingly threw away my self love.
I never set out to become a drinker. I started socially, with friends, then alcohol took over completely within a few years. I knew the more I drank, the more depressed I felt, but somewhere the line was crossed. I no longer had a choice in drinking, I physically couldn’t stop. My relationship with myself, which was destructive and hurtful, began to bleed out onto everyone who would dare come around me. Soon my children didn’t want to see me or talk to me, not to mention didn’t want me anywhere near their own children. I had become a monster and I couldn’t even see it because of the thick fog I had allowed to set in.
In talking with other alcoholics and through working with a sponsor I was able to relearn how to accept compliments, allow myself to be treated to something nice, feel positive about taking time for me to just sit in peace and reflection, and be around people again in a positive and uplifting way. I learned how to forgive myself and to quit beating myself up. There was an older woman who gave me my first gift in AA.
It was not something I would have ever purchased and I didn’t have the heart to tell her I thought it was the gaudiest thing I had ever seen. She handed me a small bag and neatly coiled inside was a long, fluffy, feathery pink boa.
Then she told me to stop beating myself up with the 2 x 4 and use a feather boa instead. I completely understood what she was getting at and was surprised anyone saw that I was still continuing to struggle with forgiveness for myself, shame, and guilt.
I am making progress today by praying first, turning to my book of Alcoholics Anonymous or the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions, instead of immediately picking the phone up and calling someone for help. I realize now that God really does have the power and is in control of my life. I have gladly and willingly given that over to him and reaffirm that decision every morning. I have been able to rebuild the relationships with my children a little at a time and it has been 5 years since I have taken a drink.
I will always be working on my sobriety and spiritual self as much as I can to keep my emotional self balanced. I feel so wonderful now after all of the work leading up to Step 12 and wholeheartedly practice the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous in al my affairs.
I had to relearn self worth, self-esteem, and self love if I was ever going to be able to give a healthy love to anyone else ever again. Rebuilding took a whole lot of time, but I started with little steps. I worked on my physical needs first which was to stop drinking. In order to have a chance at sobriety I started going to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and then became involved in the program, not just around it.
I now practice positive self talk, find joy in helping others by sharing stories of my struggles, and enjoy dancing, laughing, and relaxing with my wonderful ladies of the program. These women have always been there for me and have loved me when I could not even remember how to love myself. I have gained a new perspective on life and am so blessed beyond anything I deserve. God’s grace is truly doing for me, what I could not do for myself.