Join Date: Aug 2015
August252015/ My Story
I have thought about sharing my story on SR for awhile now- before I hit a year and since- and am now giving you all this, a blog post I wrote this morning.
“For years I was sure that the worst thing that could happen to a nice guy like me would be that I would turn out to be an alcoholic. Today I find it’s the best thing that has ever happened to me.” – Alcoholics Anonymous, (p. 417-418, Fourth Edition)
Hi, my name is Carrie Neal, and I’m an alcoholic.
It took me years to accept this simple fact.
I’ve known myself to be many things during my life – daughter, sister, friend, student, lover, volunteer, salesperson, girlfriend, wife, writer, server just to name a few. I’ve owned many adjectives about myself – intelligent, dedicated, sweet, loyal, stubborn, strong, fragile, sensitive, pretty, impulsive, creative, generous, defensive, thoughtful, and those who know me well might add more or different words. Yet one word and one adjective took me 39 years to own: alcoholic, and surrendered.
I reached a point, after years of torment, struggle and pain for myself and my loved ones (and even plenty of acquaintances), where I was given a starkly simple choice: quit drinking, or die. And finally, after countless bruises and screaming arguments, plenty of late nights out and fancy dinners about, poor relationship choices, lost jobs and friends, bottles of wine and handles of vodka, hospitalizations and medications and therapy sessions, money spent and lost on countless possessions and adventures, broken trust and abject demoralization, morning drinking and empty promises to quit, a shattered soul and a desperately lonely existence…I was done.
What a beautiful word. Why I heard the message at long last – why I was ready to submit to a truth my heart and soul had known for a long time – I can’t explain other than with this simple adjective. It became a total state of mind and being for me, and it is the greatest blessing of my life.
I believe in God, though I wandered legions away from Him during my dark years. And I believe that part of His plan for my life – part of the peculiar gift of alcoholism that He gave me – is to share my story. To give up the modicum of anonymity that I have had; while many in my personal sphere have known of my terrifying journey as well as my 431 days of sobriety, the world at large has not. It keeps on spinning around this one alcoholic – yet I see a clear mission for my life: in any way that I am able, in any medium available to me, I have a responsibility and, more importantly, a desire, to share my story.
I work a daily recovery program. It is a living, breathing entity that is my worldview, my bastion of hope, my strength in numbers. Part of it is spiritual, and part of it is learning; my lifelong agility at research and study, reading and questioning, serve me well in both areas. Part of it is tactical; I take physical steps and use emotional and rational tools to not only stay sober, but to live my own best life.
When I was a child, I would not have described the life I have now as the most perfect and fitting one I could imagine. Today, I would. My years of experiences – good and bad, related to drinking and not- along with my alcoholism….are part and parcel to this life.
Acceptance is the companion word to “done.” A ‘new freedom and a new peace, and the ability to handle situations that used to baffle me’ – these are just some of the things I have discovered since I quit drinking over 14 months ago. I consider myself young in recovery and the only finish line I envision is to die sober.
This blog, and my newfound mission working with a restaurant industry recovery group called Ben’s Friends, are two ways I intend to use my experience to benefit others. I know there are tweets, Facebook and Instagram posts, discussions with others, and other outlets I don’t even know of yet in my future. From a place where I was underweight, malnourished, and on the brink of cirrhosis, today finds my tummy rounder, my health restored, and my energy high. This is the place where my strength arises, as my heart and mind are hopeful about my future. From a place where I felt alone, defeated and fatally wounded, today I am beloved by one precious man, embraced by family and friends, and privileged to have a place in this wide world. Perfection has no place in my world, and acceptance of whatever challenges and sadness life will bring is absolutely required. Trust and hope, faith and persistence, knowledge and humility – these are the things I will need to keep close and live out as I go through the rest of my one wild and precious life.
That is what I have found after admitting to that one word and that one adjective. This is what my alcoholism has brought me.
My name is Carrie Neal, and I am a grateful recovering alcoholic.
A peculiar gift, indeed.
| "Sometimes, I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." - Alice in Wonderland |
Last edited by Opivotal; 04-29-2017 at 09:06 AM.
Reason: Correct title to conform with format.