Friday, 24 January 2014

What now?

I finally managed to give up alcohol for the last time almost a whole year ago. It was not easy and I gained a lot of support from reading other people's blogs on the same topic (although stayed well under the radar!).

Only now do I feel confident in my own ability to remain free from alcohol that I can openly say 'I don't drink' and committing myself to a black and white blog is a big step for me: it means I have to stick with it! My mindset has changed over the months since I stopped and although I still sometimes wistfully sigh and think how nice a chilled glass of white wine would be, I can remember well enough where one glass will inevitably lead me. After one glass the booze takes control and runs its own agenda and my own good intentions fall to the way side. I know how the movie ends and right now I want so much to never go there again, that I can reason with myself that there can be no 'just one' or 'just once' for me.

To mark my upcoming year of sobriety I gathered together all the ramblings and scribblings I wrote during the emotional roller coaster of those early days of abstinence. I continued a journal in a 'Then and Now' format as I tackled all the usual events in my daily life, alcohol free for the first time. They have recently been published as a book:

and I plan to post excerpts from each section here on this blog. As well as sharing my experiences, I want a good reminder for myself of how bad it actually was, and which will not fade as time passes as memories are inclined to do.

Now I'm at a cross-roads. I am wondering whether I need to consider doing AA and the 12 step thing. I've been to a few meetings but never committed to any single one. The advocates of it seem positive there is a new level of calmness, serenity and self acceptance to be gained by this process. If this were the case, of course I would want it too, but I'm not sure I believe in it enough at the moment.

If you have any thoughts or experience of AA or the 12 steps I'd love to hear them, while I  continue to consider what to do next to keep on living alcohol-free.

Back soon.


  1. Some people love AA,but it was not for me. I found that many who were long term in the program were treating it as a religion rather than an alcohol support group. There are other methods such as Smart which has online meetings which work on self esteem, which help a lot of people. The 12 step world does not have a great success rate and many feel that labelling oneself an alcoholic on a daily basis creates a very negative self image. I saw many people go on huge binges after having problems in AA and left after having some private counselling.

  2. I found women-only AA meetings quite comforting. They're always available (where I live), and I found most of the women congenial, with a common goal - to drop a habit that has been causing us a lot of trouble. You can take or leave some of the doctrine, and just enjoy the social support aspect.

  3. Hi A. I haven't found a women only group locally but I have been for coffee with a couple of ladies from one meeting I went to. Part of me wants to join the group and do the 12 steps, who knows what I may find but another part dislikes how they seem blinkered by the AA way or no way. I've mentioned getting help from sober blogs and websites etc and they are totally dismissive of these. Any of my reasoned approaches get attributed to the paranoia of alcoholism and they think I am in denial that I have a problem!
    Have you done the 12 steps?

  4. Hi Rachel! I love your blog, thank you for taking the time and writing about your experience - it is lovely to read about surrender and sobriety.

    My husband is in AA now for 7 months and I am in Al-Anon for 6 months. We absolutely love our groups. My group meets once a week and I found in them a place of unconditional love.

    I have been to 4 different meetings with Al-Anon and several open AA meetings so I can see how some groups simply are not a match. I think it is more about the people in the group then the message. I remember I went to one group, my first meeting one matter of fact, and I couldn't shake how distant they seemed... some came out as very self-righteous. I went 2 more times to confirm and indeed, it just wasn't clicking.

    So I decided to find another group and found mine as it was convenient on my way home from work. Wow, it was a world of a difference. It is amazing how the same "steps" and "traditions" but delivered by a different group of people can be so compassionate and loving.

    I can't wait to go every Thursday and see my friends now. We text each other and call each other on good and bad days. As we choose this new road, we lose some friendships so it is was wonderful to gain new friendships.

    Hope this was helpful. Maybe try a couple of different meetings that are convenient for your schedule and location and if you don't feel like sharing, just say "Glad to be here. I'll pass." From day one, my group explained to emphasize on sharing our personal experiences and never tell others what to do. I love that setting for our journeys and progress are personal.

    Sending warm greetings from Kansas City, USA!

    1. Hi and thanks for taking the time to comments. Your happiness and contentment literally leaps off the page! Lovely to hear from friends in different parts of the US. I am over the pond in Scotland.
      If you have not already found this blog
      you should definitely take a look.It is written be Syd who is an active member of Al-anon, in New Jersey I think. His parents and his wife are alcoholics in recovery and he has a lot of interesting things to say.
      Best wishes Rachel


Go on, spill.

Follow @SoberRachel