The Beautiful Lie

Hi my name is Marc and I’m an alcoholic.

I first joined the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous when I was 21. I am now 28 and almost 6 years sober, one day at a time. I will never forget the time I walked through the doors of my first A.A. meeting. So young but so broken. I took one look around the room and thought my life was over. Everyone in the room was much older than me, well-dressed and happy. I didn’t truly feel like I belonged. I battled in my head whether I should get up and go or sit and see it through for 2 hours. I chose the latter. I was very pessimistic but once the meeting started, my entire view changed. I was completely shocked and honestly, to a certain degree, scared.

The things shared by these older, smart, well-groomed and joyous people were things I could relate to. The whole idea that I was suffering from an illness that when I took the very first sip of alcohol, set up this craving – this compulsion – to need more I could fully understand. I always knew I drank to get drunk. I never could understand why anyone would only have a couple of drinks. I did it to forget about all the drama in life, to forget how my mum destroyed my family by divorcing my dad, to forget about how my brother was always the one who was right, to finally be rid of the fear in the pit of my stomach.

It was after my mind had started to clear that I was able to understand the other part of my addiction. See, at times I knew that I could stop drinking. But I also knew that when I did drink, all bets were off. The only thing I couldn’t understand was why I couldn’t stay stopped. I would always, somewhere down the line, whether it was days or weeks, go back to the bottle and damage myself and others. Over and over again. That’s when the mental side became clearer.

“The Beautiful Lie.”

I have found that this is the best name and description for it. I know no other lie so powerful, so believable to that which is told in the confines of the alcoholic mind. After a while of being off the drink, I would become this restless, irritable and discontent person that is described in the Big Book. There would inevitably come the time that everything would start coming apart at the seams and eventually crumble. My mind would say one of two things to me, and sometimes both of them: “Screw it! I’m going for a drink!” or “Come on Marc, don’t you remember that time that it really helped, when life was complete again?” Both of these things pretty much meant the exact same thing. It was the illness encouraging me to take that first taste which always led to yet another binge.

Here is where my mind opened to the exact nature of why I drank alcohol the way I did. This was the illness, but how did I begin the path to recovery? I came to see that it was through the people, the program and the power (the 3 P’s). I had no restraints when it came to the spiritual side of the program as I realised very quickly that that was exactly what I was using alcohol for – to fill the hole in my soul. I had been searching through drink, drugs, woman, money, material things, people, self-harming, places, the list is really endless. Anything to give me a high, which also helped me understand just what a selfish creature I was.

So when someone offered a spiritual replacement, I was more than ready to, at the very least, attempt it. For me, it also helped a great deal that I wasn’t brought up with a religion of any sort. My mind was open because A.A is not a religious program. So I found a sponsor and I continued down the path. It has been the single best thing I have ever done in my life. Coming to terms with the past me, how I really “ticked” and how I perceived life was such an awakening. The most important thing I came to realise was that I was not a bad person, that there was a lot of good inside me and I just hadn’t found it yet. I spent all my teenage years completely loathing myself, to the point that I would abuse my body in some very gruesome ways. To feel pain and see my body bleed was again a strange way of reaching a type of euphoria, a sense of release.

I believe today that the hole I had in my soul is now filled with the love and spirit of the 3 P’s. I have been completely reborn. My life is nothing like the one I had before entering that first meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. Even before alcohol was in my life, I suffered from the illness of alcoholism. I had the ‘ism’ – was just waiting on the alcohol. I have a beautiful wife and three amazing kids. I try to be a good example in the rooms of A.A. and also try to be the best example I can outside the rooms. I like to describe my spiritual path like a tree, the program being the trunk and from that stem so many other little golden nuggets and opportunities to grow. Over the past year, I have also been involved in service at my local Intergroup which has helped my sobriety tremendously. I am so very grateful to everything Alcoholics Anonymous has given and done for me. Without it, I seriously doubt that I would be alive today. I must always remain grateful.

Marc from Troon, Scotland