The topic of this article might suggest a drunkalogue, but actually it is quite the opposite. After some years of coming to terms with my alcoholism, I managed to finally put down the drink 5 years ago, staying sober one day at a time.
I was a flight attendant based in London and had been flying between Los Angeles and London every week for about 18 months before I went to the meeting in London that jump-started my sobriety. I had taken about 10 days off of work to detox and attend daily meetings. I sometimes went twice a day, which I highly recommend during early recovery.
My first trip back to Los Angeles was with crew members I knew well, and the in-flight manager was a good friend who was aware of and supported my recovery. I was his second-in-command and I'm sure that he was a little hesitant about the upcoming 10-hour flight.
In AA I was advised to make an announcement requesting “friends of Bill W”, should I need help during a flight, because it would be very likely that an AAer would appear with nearly 400 passengers onboard. That day I was working in business class on the main deck. Although I was boarding passengers and making them feel welcome and relaxed, I was full of fear! I had been flying for 15 years, typically with the expectation of having a drink before the end of a flight and sometimes after. I decided not to wait and made the announcement in the economy class cabin after all passengers boarded.
Business class is only separated by a curtain, so I was pleasantly surprised when a man named Phillip came through the curtain and asked me who made the announcement. I told him I made the announcement for myself, and at that moment I was saved all over again. This lovely man was on his way to Los Angeles to celebrate 30 years of sobriety with friends from AA. He was in my cabin throughout the flight and was ready to talk whenever I needed to. He gave me a reunion chip from AA and a card for my wallet to remind me that I am never alone. In addition, Phillip’s friends lived very near the hotel that the crew stayed in, so they sent meeting lists and tapes for me to listen to. Afterwards, I was able to call them and check in whenever I flew into Los Angeles.
Since then, I carry this experience with me all the time. And when stressful moments come along, as they often do in life, I remember that it will be alright.