I Thought I was Hopeless – Aimee M_July2018

I am Aimee, and I am an alcoholic. I wanted to share this with you all, as I am sure there are many people who share in my struggles. My initiation into Alcoholics Anonymous was 10 and a half years ago, when the Navy strongly suggested that I get sober. I was initiated into recovery after a suicide attempt. This was a common occurrence when I was drinking, even before I entered the military. The military was supposed to be the answer to my drinking problem, and it was for two months and two weeks when I was not allowed to drink. Once I was allowed to, however, I was off to the races. This is the piece of my journey that I want to share. At just about 9 and a half years of sobriety, I have been circling within the process of reflection and remembering what it was like, versus what it is like right now. What I am going to write here reflects the part of my story that reflects the hopelessness I experienced in my drinking, and even within the first few years of my sobriety. My goal is to show you that you can arise out of any level of hopelessness, out of any state of mind and body. While I understand that these are considered “outside issues,” I need to emphasize the realness and seriousness of mental illness. This is a big part of my story. In hindsight, alcoholism was but a symptom of more serious issues. When I had done nothing to resolve my thinking problem, staying sober seemed like a quest that would only end in failure. I mentioned that my entry into Alcoholics Anonymous was followed by one of my many suicide attempts. I have received many different “diagnoses” from the mental health field, but the truth is that I have a skewed belief system and a thinking problem, but I do not for a second discount the very real fact that I am an alcoholic. Where I felt hopeless was in my ability to overcome the “diagnoses” I was walking around with, the story I told myself, and the past that I could not let go of. The main reason I remain sober, even to this day, is that I am fully aware that drinking frequently leads to my trying to take my own life. In the first couple of years of my sobriety, I also felt this hopeless, but the attempts did not happen. Self-harm? Yes. Suicidal thinking? Yes. Attempts? No. This primarily stems from a pretty serious mental health issue, deeper than general depression or anxiety, one that I do not need to get into here. The point I am trying to make here is that mental illness is very real, and many people can recover from these issues with Alcoholics Anonymous work alone, but I was not one of them. Before I continue, I will point out that I am currently a professional in the mental health field, and I witness these issues every day. The primary intention I have in writing this, however, is to speak as a fellow member of Alcoholics Anonymous, not a mental health professional. My greatest hope is to model the fact that, no matter the level of hopelessness you feel, recovery is possible. If you have not died yet, you are not hopeless. Is it hard? Yes. Is it harder than staying the way you have been? I highly doubt it. It has taken me a pretty long time to reach the point I currently am, and I still have quite the way to go. What’s important, though, is that I remain on the upward climb. As long as I do not take that drink, I remain on the upward climb. As long as I do not give up and stop trying, I remain on the upward climb. Do I slide backwards sometimes? Absolutely. It is a fact of life. We get tired. We get fed up at times. The battle can be futile, but we have not yet lost the war because we are not dead. Right before I hit my 9 year mark in January, I was so close that I actually had the opening of a bottle pressed to my lips. By the grace of all things greater than me, I put the bottle down. Was it God? Sure. Was it willpower? Probably not. What it was, more than anything, was what I knew I would be throwing away. I did not want to lose all of you. I did not want to lose everything I have worked so hard for throughout the course of my sobriety. I certainly did not want to find myself strapped to another hospital bed on the brink of death. I share this will you all because there is nothing in the book or the program that says Alcoholics Anonymous will fix everything for you. It IS okay to seek professional help if you need it. If you need it, PLEASE do not hesitate to seek professional help. Do whatever you need to keep yourself alive, so you can do whatever it takes to stay sober. What kind of program would we be if we limited your ability to do so? This can all be summed up into one statement…”At one time I was hopeless, but I realized I am still breathing, and I am still moving. Who am I to say I am hopeless?” The only thing that can render you hopeless for recovery in your life as it is now is lying in a box beneath the dirt, or burned to ashes in a big brass jar. As long as you are breathing, who told you you’re hopeless? Who are you to make that decision about your life when there is so much evidence to the contrary surrounding you, when you have a much greater power guiding you through your journey should you choose to take notice? You are not as different as you think…give us a chance and you will find that many of the people on your side know EXACTLY what you are going through. Open your heart, open your mind, and you shall not fail. Just remember, you cannot do this alone. People care and people want to help. -Aimee M. *My Home Group, 90th & 32nd meets M W F @ 6pm

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