Nothing Changes If Nothing Changes

A member’s experience of getting sober in 2020. 

“Most of our problems are of our own making and change will only rectify them.”

My name is Katie and today I am a grateful, sober alcoholic – only due to the fact that I started to make changes in my lonely, destructive life. My sobriety date is January 2, 2020 and I thank god for showing me the path to AA and for giving me the courage to walk into my first AA meeting full of anxiety and fear.

I am from Ireland where they say: “May you always have love in your hearts and beer in your belly.” In Ireland, it is not unusual for young adults to experience blackouts or drinking until they are sick, but I realized early on that my drinking was even a step above my peers.

I had a very “normal” childhood (if you can easily define normal!). I was good at sports, good in school and played several musical instruments which gave me a real sense of pride and happiness. However, on May 21, 2007 – our worlds as we knew it changed when my father took his own life. From that day on, the feeling of selfishness and self-pity grew, and all of my wreckless behaviour began! My actions were always justified – or so I thought! And it was not a pretty sight! I lost touch of who I was as a person, as a daughter and as a friend.

I always had friends in school and university, but slowly began to realise that I was the girl who drank more than the rest and never remembered the events that had passed! After a world trip, several relocations and moving to beautiful Switzerland, I thought I had found the solution, not realizing that it doesn’t matter where I am, or who I am with – alcoholism doesn’t care! It is a part of me, and I am grateful today that my eyes were opened to the fact!

After a period of severe emotional insanity, broken relationships and suicidal thoughts – I finally surrendered and walked into a meeting on a cold wintery Saturday night in Zürich. All alone and feeling very vulnerable, I was met with the most welcoming eyes – of people who understood how I felt and knew my pain. For the very first time – I thought someone understood me. I sat in the back of the room not looking at anyone but listening to all the heartfelt stories of people who had 7 months sobriety or 12 years sobriety, and how they did it. People received colourful chips for their periods of sobriety, and most of all, people were smiling, happy, open and honest. I knew from that moment on, I was in the right place and my journey and new life could finally begin.

“I listened to their stories and found so many areas where we overlapped – not all the deeds, but the feelings of remorse and hopelessness. I learned that alcoholism isn’t a sin, it’s a disease.” P.344 Big Book.

I was gifted with the most wonderful first sponsor, a beautiful American girl who called me every morning, sent me podcasts to listen to on my commute to work, and emailed me the daily reflections and beautiful spiritual quotes! The support and love I felt was overwhelming. I started to go to as many meetings as possible and started to read through the Big Book immediately. I gave my number to many women who approached me and opened myself up to actually having a support network and people I could lean on.

Today, I am sober almost eleven months and the change in my life is unimaginable! I wake up without shame or regret! I pray, I meditate! I have a Higher Power to support me throughout the day! I have beautiful fellows I can meet for coffee! I have a happy loving relationship! I join online Young Persons conventions! I write articles! I tell my story! Because of all these things can help the next newcomer!

I won’t lie, it is hard work, it is part of my daily routine – the most important part! My sobriety, the tools I learned in the rooms are the key to my happiness. I hold 5 service positions, a lovely way to give back all for the wonders you receive! I say yes to things I would have avoided in the past. I no longer have to dread the day ahead. My story continues and there will be highs and lows, but I know that if I am sober and I have the program, I am going to be okay!

I now have the tools to get through the bad days! But most of all, I have a sense of hope that I never had before!

“Those events that once made me feel ashamed and disgraced now allow me to share with others how to become a useful member of the human race.” P.492 Big Book.

I hope someone who reads this and is struggling can find the message of hope I am trying to convey! AA works! It works if you work it! I am glad to have been given a second chance at life!

Yours faithfully,

Katie