Pat’s Story

I was born into an outwardly normal, successful family – Mum, Dad and a brother (I’m 2 years older)…but Dad was an alkie AND a gambler, and Mum was angry! Dad was a fairly gentle drunk, but could be quite sarcastic. Mum was violent towards Dad on several occasions. We kids were loved though, and not abused. But I was scared…not sure of what, just scared. I was still wetting the bed and sucking my thumb until my teens (not at school, needless to say!), bit my nails and was scared of anyone new, and even scared of my aunts, uncles and cousins.

When I was 10 we moved to Darwin, which was a big drinking town (still is, I guess) and Dad’s drinking got lost in the general ifestyle, so tensions at home were considerably eased. I got less scared, but was still on the timid side. And then when I was 16 I discovered alcohol…YIPPEEE! God it was good. I was no longer scared, I was able to speak my mind (even if I couldn’t remember what my mind thought!), socialized with the rest/best of them – had a ball for about three years. And then it started going pear-shaped, although I wouldn’t admit it for decades.

I moved from Darwin to Auckland, got pregnant, came back to Perth – and became a victim! It wasn’t my fault ( whatever “it” was) it was down to everybody else. And instead of being a happy drunk, I became morose or angry. So, it must have been Perth’s fault and I went to England. Guess what! I became morose and angry again – poor me! My drinking was quite horrific in the UK … no-one knew me so any restraints I might have felt just vanished. I drank in fairly unsafe dockside bars with people who looked after me, thank Heavens. Not the most socially acceptable of people, but good friends just the same…so any ideas I had of socially superior people died after that, which is a good thing… even as a drunk I was able to learn some lessons!!

I married in England, came back to Australia via the Bahamas and settled into normal suburban life. My drinking became a bit controlled, but even more unhappy. I guess if you throw enough depressant down your throat, you’re bound to become depressed…I didn’t know alcohol was a depressant until I came into AA. Eventually, like so many of us, I just got sick and tired of being sick & tired – no particular reason, except that I could remember the details of what was to be my last drunk. (I mostly I drank in blackout, which probably prolonged the misery.)

I was still employed, still had the house and husband – but life was just one long lurch between drinks, I had no idea what was really going on around me and my fears had come back big-time! Whenever I said to myself I wasn’t going to drink today, I’d be drinking by about 5.00pm regardless. I rang AA because I just knew that if I didn’t I was stuffed – I would live for years just feeling progressively worse. I don’t know how I knew this, I just did – and I do believe in Divine intervention although I don’t really know what that means. I do know that I couldn’t have rung AA left to my own devices – I didn’t even know what it was about… but ring I did.

Judy came out to talk with me for a while; Teresa took me to my first meeting ( in a detox – I didn’t even know what a detox was!) I have remained sober ever since, for which I am very grateful. I did heaps of meetings and stayed close to people who were not only sober, but happy to be sober. They were also “service freaks” and I never knew I had a choice to be in service or not – I just thought it was part of the deal. Which it is, of course, and I’m very grateful I was never told I didn’t have to do stuff. Or if I was told that, I didn’t hear it.

Eventually I also got a sponsor and started working on the Steps (AA’s 12 Step program). Some things took as long as they took – years in some cases, but I was never far away from older sober members. I lived next door Ruby for about 3 years, which was a great help. I moved there at about 6 months sober when I finally lost the house and husband. I also ended up in hospital for the first time in my life (other than when I was born), lost about 18kg in weight due to stress and fear. But the hope and encouragement I got in AA outweighed the rest and I’ve gotten weller over the years. I don’t do many face to face meetings any more – mostly because I live too far out and don’t drive at night-time if I can avoid it, but I would be absolutely lost without this online group and without the AA friends I have made. I keep in touch on a regular basis and just love the feeling of being in AA, and still do service work whenever I can.

I love being sober.