Jane’s Journey

I was born and brought up in Manchester. I was an only child, my sister was stillborn a couple of years before. I really wanted to be a boy and grew up playing football with the boys and had a fairly happy childhood. My mum and dad brought me up the best they could, although there was no emotional love in our family. Neither one was a drinker due to their religious beliefs.

At age 11, I went to an all girls school, and it was here that most of my problems started I suppose. I was bullied and had an unhealthy friendship with a mature gentleman from next door.

At age 16, I left school a very reserved, quiet, inmature, introverted person and started working in the bank. By now, I was in a long distant relationship with my second cousin, now my husband, 14 years my senior.

When I was 18, my dad died. I had idolised him and always gone where he had gone. I was not allowed to show emotion as I had to stay strong for my mum, who never showed emotion – ever – in her life.

At 21, I was married and introduced to alcohol and actually had a healthy relationship with it at the start.

After receiving help, we had twin daughters.

The next 15 years of my life seemed normal, as I knew it, but I have come to realise that I was in a very controlling co-dependant marriage and I found I was drinking alcohol more often. I was also hiding alcohol by now too and my drinking was ever increasing, unbeknown to my family. Eventually, I got really low and convided in a couple of friends that I wanted to end my life.

Life at home was not good. For the next 15 years my alcoholism progressed, I saw my GP, I had counselling, I stopped for periods and then was off again thinking this time it would be different and I could drink normal. Somehow, I managed to hold down a job, did not drive after drinking but life was a mess as my girls were realising I was drinking behind my husbands back and they would tell him and off the rows went again.

Eventually, the girls moved on to start their own lives at university. I had a breakdown from stress at work and I was signed off long term but did not return. I was now on the spirits drinking to blackout and my husband seems oblivious to this.

About 6 years ago, I was confronted by my husband when I had finished a bottle of wine. He said that if I did it again he would leave me. This I believe, for me, was my rock bottom.

I couldn’t do it anymore, it was hard work. From here my GP suggested a support group, from there I attended a weekly group support and I came through the doors of AA. My first meeting I did not think this was for me but someone in the support group wanted me to go with him so I returned. I heard the words “keep coming back”. This I did. I got a sponsor, went through the steps and still attend this group.

I have learnt through counselling who I really am and as I am small can wear boys clothes. I have learnt that we are all unique and that it is alright to be different and to be me.

In early recovery, I started voluntary work in the local school and was given the opportunity to study and get a qualification in supporting children. I now spend my time either in school or doing AA service. I’ve found that I really need structure in my life and do well with it. It makes me feel that I am protected from the “real” world. It makes me feel safe.

Honestly, there are still a lot of issues at home around who I am, what I am, and what my husband expects me to be. I do respect his wishes and keep my alcoholism quiet, and, in doing so,  have come to the conclusion that the real Jane may not ever be able to be free. This I accept.

Service is my way of giving back to the fellowship and of helping the still suffering alcoholic to reach these rooms. AA saved my life. I don’t know if I ever would have found Jane without it. It’s one thing for the world not to know Jane, but it would have been another if I wouldn’t have.

Most of all, I have serenity, peace of mind, and am a very grateful recovering alcoholic. All this – if I only work my program one day at a time.