A Long Way Home – Veronique L _Lifeline2016

The first time I admitted to another human being, and probably to myself, that I was an alcoholic was to my then husband. We were at one of his friend’s wedding and I had to stay in the car because I was so drunk and was having a meltdown.  A couple of weeks before, I had spent five nights in jail after being arrested for a DUI. Our nine month old little girl was in the car with me when that happened. I don’t remember much of that conversation in the car but I do remember finally bursting out between all the tears “I’m a drunk” and feeling a great sense of relief. That was the very beginning of a long struggle with recovery.

I had heard of AA but didn’t know anything about it. So I looked it up on the internet but the words God and Higher Power scared me and even pissed me off. Instead, I chose to go to an outpatient program. Ironically, one of the first things I found out is that we were required to attend at least one AA meeting a week!

I completed the 32 weeks program and kept going to my AA meeting. I had come to actually like my 6:30 am meeting with who I used to call “the grumpy old men”. But I was still a stubborn atheist and refused to work the program. I had been an elite athlete my whole life and had plenty of discipline and will power to stay sober. You can imagine how well that worked out! The next 5 years would be filled with periods of sobriety, periods of heavy drinking and lots and lots of lies. I hurt and deceived many people during those years, and created a lot of wreckage.

After the birth of my twins, I was back on the bottle and heading towards a complete state of self-destruction. I separated from my husband and the kids went to stay with their grandparents in a different state. I was devastated and I literally drowned my sorrows. I became a complete slave to alcohol and it was going to take me to some very dark places, places I would have never imagined I’d go. Alcohol took all my judgment away and led me to a bad relationship, to drugs, prostitution, troubles with the law, the loss of my kids and everything else that I had, including my dignity and self-respect. That’s when I came crawling back to the rooms of AA, alone, scared and oh so paranoid! But something had changed in me and I was now certain that there was a Higher Power, a God, and that although He was definitively showing me what tough love was, He was behind me 100%.

I dove into the AA program; I found a sponsor, started working the steps and got involved in service work. I even got a job at the Fellowship Hall. Those were still some pretty dark days though. I didn’t necessarily want to stay sober; I just knew I had to.

After a while, the clouds started to dissipate and I couldn’t deny that I was actually feeling pretty good and was even happy for the first time in my life. Even more astonishing, I( yes me) had friends, real friends! People who understood me, cared about me and for whom I cared about deeply as well. So I dove even deeper in the program. I introduced new things into my recovery such as meditation, Church, exercise and AA’s sister fellowships.

Today, I have just over 7 months and I love my sober life. Even with the hurts, the drama, the disappointments and the frustrations that sometimes come my way, I would not trade this gift for any drink or drug. And I am grateful for every bits of my past because it led me to where I’m at today; home.

-Veronique Leclerc

(note: this is a reprint from a few years ago)

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