Stephen’s story

Hello there …  to whom this may reach, my name is Stephen and I’m an alcoholic, but it is with the Grace of a Loving God that I am sober today as I have been since my first meeting 17/6/93.

I live in Queenstown Tasmania Australia, Queenstown is a mining town on the west coast.

Until I got into AA I had no idea of what was in front of me and as I look back I can see how God has had  his hand on my life inspite of myself.

I started drinking at an early age, always asking Dad for a sip of his beer, when I was about 15 years of age I got a part time job splitting scallops at a fish factory, I would go to the factory every night after school, that was way back in 1973 I think?. After one weeks work I earn’t nineteen dollars, and I thought that I was rich , so I went out on the Friday night and bought myself a half bottle of bacardi rum, usual story got blind drunk, but me and bacardi were an instant match, I had found this magic potion, that could make me feel how I wanted to.  It never occured to me at the time that my disease of alcoholism had already had it’s tentacles on me sucking the life out of me.

I left high school early , got a job at one of the first Kentucky Fried Chicken places , in Hobart, so after work on a Friday night I was invited out to a few drinks at one of the workers place, got pissed , spewed my guts up , waking up the next morning so sick , swearing never to drink again.

In December 1973 I got a job as an apprentice Chef, I was employed by a chain of hotels called Four Seasons Hotels Motels.  I worked in the first place for 18 months.

My first transfer took my away from home at the age of 18 , I shared a flat with three other apprentices, but I never felt easy around others, always suffering from low self esteem , but I tried to cover this up by excelling at my work , which I did .  We had a fridge in the house that we rented , there was never any food in it , only beer.

The daily ritual of having that glass of beer became a  must. Sunday Hotel trading came into practice in 1975, I had this insane thought that I could drink heaps on Sundays and not get drunk, so I drank all the more, on Sundays.

I got shifted around a few times, some at my request , but mostly at the request of others. But as I look back now , I did work with  some practising alcoholic chefs.

My career as an apprentice blossomed , but on the inside I still felt very uneasy around others, just didn’t know why, but the glass in the hand at the end of the day with those that I worked with, enabled me to make amends. So I thought.

March 1977 I moved to Queenstown it was near the end of my apprenticeship, to do some relief work,  I got paid good money back in those days , but had no idea how to manage money, couldn’t save any .

It was then that I met Wendy, one day down at the golf club, after a game I went into the bar and there was George, so I sat near him and he began to speak to me as though he knew me, then he told me that his wife was working in the hotel that I was working at.

After I finished my apprenticeship , I looked around for another job, didn’t have any trouble finding another job, but my ability to handle my emotions was getting worse, going to work with resentments and fear, was the norm rather than the unusual.

I worked in a number of places over a short time, my arrogance was a result of low self esteem and self centredness, I would use my position of authortiy  to get what I wanted. Every job I started ,  it was wonderful  for a while , then the same problems would resurface, just like the blackberries out the back of my place do , no matter what I do to them, any spec of a weed of them and they will sprout up and just take over, whatever they can.

Wendy and I got married on April 17th 1982, with no money, we found a job where we could work together , and be together and save some money, after four years of working in this place the boss pulled me aside, and said , unless I organise your finances for you , you will finish up with nothing, so he showed me a plan where I could still have my beer money, this wasn’t a bad idea, so after 12  months we had saved something like $13,000 , so we deposited it on a house , a brick and tile, for $61,000 so we borrowed $50,000 at 15.5% , finally  I had achieved something, but still to much full of the wrong pride.

After working in this place , my drinking was getting worse, I did martial arts for 2 years, as I suffered from low self esteem, (result of Drinking), Would go and train martial arts for two hours, then go and get stuck into the grog after, built up a  thirst, to  quench.

Did an employment geographical in January 1990, twelve months later I sold my house and moved closer to work, the bomb of a car I was driving around was a 1967 Ford , and here is  me earning $30,000 a year, on the sale on my house I paid off all my debts and said to myself  I’m never going to allow myself in that much  debt again, with in a space of six months I was up to my earholes in debt again.

There was a finance place in Hobart called Personal Finance, I would borrow say $600 off of them , pay them back over a period of six months, get it half paid off then go back and borrow it again…

What Happened , it was one Thursday night , I had had a gutfull of beer at the local club, I bought a bottle of beer and a bottle of stout, went home , opened up both bottles , and poured some of each into the same glass, commonly known as black and tans, then the wife said to me that she was leaving me with our nine month old son.

After three days of living in sheer emotional terror and fear, I decided to seek help.

Went to a minister of the cloth , he  suggested that I  ring AA in the morning and that I may need to spend some time in a detox . This I laughed at, but as I know now , I wasn’t far from having no choice.

So I reached for the phone the next morning, and I rang Alcoholics Anonymous, oblivious to the fact of what was in front of me, see until I got into AA I lived in my mind and my mind was living in the past , past resentments and fear. I drank alcohol to escape reality.

Went to a meeting that night , then again the next night , it was there that I met my sponsor, he was the second speaker and he told me my story, it was at that meeting , that I knew that I had been given a choice, a choice that I  could  choose to do something with my life , or go back to the drink, but something was telling me that my drinking days as I knew it were finished.

After two months  of separation, my wife decided that she would accept me back , but in Queenstown, Upon leaving Hobart , Joyce gave me a little book , called LIM Australia, it was a bi-monthly meeting in print for those that are not able to get to meetings on a regular basis, so I joined.  I travelled a distance of 320klms every fortnight for a live meeting, I have not picked up a drink since, I have stayed sober since 17/6/93 one day at a time, my words do not justify the love that God has for me, words cannot express my gratitude for the wonderful fellowhip of Alcoholics Anonymous

No I am no angel, I struggle very much at times with in me.

love and hugs Stephen D