Robert’s Story

I grew up in Newcastle in Australia and had what I consider a not so good childhood. Teenage years were the same … I don’t have many good recollections but I feel this is because of the fear and insecurities I experienced as far back as I can remember. My relatives thought I was a good quiet boy but i was keeping out of everyone’s way because I was frightened of people and places. I was always living pretending I was someone I was not.

School was a nightmare and I made very few friends and, untill I started drinking, I had few associates. Once I left school at 15yrs old my father got me a job with a friend of his. I resented this but realised, once sober, that I probably could not have got a job myself because of the fear in me. Work was traumatic for sometime but at sixteen I was drinking daily and life was bearable now I had an escape mechanism.

As the years rolled by I tried other forms of drugs but they frightened me so alcohol was the priority. Relatioships were few as I always became obsessive and drove people away or they realised ‘here was one sick unit – keep away!’ I met my wife in 1971 and still beleive she was the first person on the planet I had any real feeling for that was not fear based. She was living in an alcoholic enviroment and looking for someone to rescue her. I was looking for a person to protect me from the world. We married in 1974 and have been together ever since. She would leave me when drinking for short spells but I would make all the standard promises and she would come back. We both knew I had a problem with booze and denied it. At times we would set out to solve this problem but we never had any success.

In 1978 I reached a rock bottom like never before and ended up in an A.A. meeting, delivered to it by the local parish priest who I went to looking for a loophole out of the trouble I was in (police etc). I went home from that meeting and my wife asked me what happened I said I didnt know but I was going back the next night. One alkie talking to another is what happened. Unconditional love, acceptance, aliens talking to another alien, bullshitters talking to another bullshitter. I was handled by experts from the start and owe these people my life.

I have not needed to drink or drug since that first meeting. My wife started going to Al-Anon about 4 months after I got sober and is still a regular attender. She does not need rescuing anymore and I don’t need protecting. We have a strong relationship based on trust and each other’s needs. The A.A. and Al-Anon programmes have given us both an identity as individuals and have made us powerful as a couple. We have 4 children, none of which have seen me drink. One of them is sober and straight in the fellowship – about 6 months now. My sobriety is my invaluable asset and a gift from my God and, regardless of my life’s situation, I have felt love and a power at work in my life. Having survived alcohol, anything is possible.

I have had good sponsorship and literature based meetings so I was made aware of my malady and the solutions and the benefits of recovery for myself and others. I work the programme and continue to look to myself on a daily basis for the source of my concerns and to God and the fellowship for the solutions. I am 21 years sober, still reading my books, still have a sponsor, still taking my vitamins, still talking it out, still sharing … it works. A lady from Sydney used to say to me “life’s in session, are you present?” I didnt like it because I wasn’t but, after some programming, I was and still am. I owe my life to this fellowship and all the gods of the people in it.