Hi, I’m Jamie B. and I’m an alcoholic.

When I first came into AA, everything to do with me looked good on the outside. I had a job, a car, a place to live, but I was spiritually and emotionally bankrupt. I had nothing going for me, I had no idea how to talk to people and was constantly in fear. In fear of absolutely everything.

Thankfully, God saw it fit for me to find a very active and enthusiastic AA group in the D.C. area. I was scooped up by sober alcoholics that showed me how to stay sober. I followed the rule of “women with women”. I had a female sponsor and did not hang out with men by myself. I got asked out on dates a couple times and would immediately call my sponsor and ask her what I should do. All she would say is, “It’s your decision.” I was like a child or a teenager (still am kind of) and felt clueless!

I’m alcoholic, therefore everything moves in fast forward for me. A date means marriage and a kiss means sex. I had to learn that my way of thinking was delusional and not normal. I occasionally dated in my first year and learned that it was ok to say no to a second date.

As I was learning how to be in relationships, both platonic and romantic, one sober AA gentleman caught my eye all the time.

He made me feel giddy and foolish inside. I thought he was so cute that I wasn’t able to speak very well in his presence. Sounds sick, right? Well, now we’re married have two kids. 🙂

Everything in fast forward. He did not 13th step me, or take advantage of my newness in sobriety. I was a sober woman of Alcoholics Anonymous and took responsibility for my decisions. He actually asked my sponsor if it was ok to ask me out on a date, something that none of the other guys had done. David was sober 7 years when we got together and I had nine months on me. Shortly after I passed my two year mark, our first child was born.

My husband and I have been married now for five years and have never seen each other drunk or in the obsession of alcohol. We have seen each other in the obsession of other things: food, money, clothes, people, etc. We do not sponsor each other. I use the AA principles and traditions in our relationship. Especially when my patience, love and tolerance feels like it is running out. I try to listen with love and the understand that he is sick, too. I do not try to “figure” him out. I just love him and I am grateful for his love and the opportunity to walk in this life together.  He is a gift from God.  In the beginning of our relationship, I would constantly take his inventory. It took me a while to realize that I felt so much better just worrying about my own. 😉

I don’t think we feel any different than other “normal” married couples, we just happen to be alcoholic. We face the same challenges any couple has. Finances, kids and all the obligations that go into a marriage to make it work, grow and prosper. We understand one another on an intimate level. I’m still learning how best to comfort and be there for him when he’s not feeling like himself, or he’s at his wits end with the thousand things he has going on any given day. When I have no clue what to do or what to say, being in the bondage of self, I just treat him like an alcoholic. I try to be open, friendly and be of service in my own home – especially when I don’t feel like it!

Our kids are absolutely my heart. Just thinking about them while writing this makes me tear up. They would not be here if I didn’t get sober. They would have a completely different life if David or I ever picked up a drink. I was sober before I got pregnant, but I hear women sharing in meetings about lives of drinking with their kids, and all I think is “yep, that’s me.” Although it never happened, I am not immune. I am no different than the newcomer walking in the door for their first meeting, I just haven’t had a drink in a while. I want my kids to know God, and to be loved, and to know that they’re appreciated and cherished.  I am not ‘Mom of the Year’. I snap at my son almost every time I give him a bath, but I am a work in progress. Thank God we are not saints!

If our kids turn out to be alcoholic, I pray their drinking careers are short-lived and that they will know the rooms of AA. All will not be lost, but it will be painful. It is a fear of mine, not a big one right now, but I’m sure it will be as they get older.