Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Sober Life begins...1989

I recently came across this letter that I wrote to all the members of my family in October of 1989. It is self-explanatory and I copy it here for you.


“On June 30th the family held an “intervention” and let it be known to me that they were worried about the effect that alcohol was having on me. July 1st found me in a treatment center in Charlotte, NC called AMETHYST.

I won’t belabor my 28 days there but will say that it was a most frightening (and, finally, exhilarating) month. As some of you might know, most treatment centers rely heavily on the teachings of Alcoholics Anonymous, and this was no exception. I did not, at first, embrace their concepts. I didn’t even enjoy going to the meetings and I will always be in awe of those who find AA on their own and make it work for them.

However, as my mind cleared and my body healed I found that I was much more open to a new way of life. Now it seems incredible that I lived in a sort of limbo state for so long. I had hidden behind alcohol for years. I was frightened of life in general and, in particular, of all the blows that I thought it had handed to me. I was unable to honestly face my own feelings…or of those around me.

Now I know that, as real as my fears may have seemed to me, they are not unique and I am now part of a huge fellowship that shares similar feelings and emotions. I now know that if I can’t allow myself the painful moments then it would follow that I would never completely feel the good times either.

Many of my new friends (in Treatment and in AA) can’t believe that I was lucky enough to have a family who loved me enough to intervene. I will never be able to thank all of you enough.

If there is one thing I’ve learned it’s that there is endless love that floats around unreclaimed. It may sound corny but I wish you could all see how this works in AA. Doctor’s, nurse’s, lawyers, executives, nuns, dock workers, janitors and even those who are freshly out of jail...they are all part of this amazing fellowship of love and tolerance.

The ONLY requirement is a desire to stop drinking and we come together to share in this common bond. As they say in AA, ‘it isn’t so difficult getting sober…it’s staying that way that’s hard !’ I hope I never forget that.”

(Note: If this is of interest to any of my readers please click on Bud’s blog, “Paradise Is Pinehurst” and read about his journey into sobriety. It’s very different from mine but we ended up at the same place and have been friends for years…
PS: the coin in the picture denotes my 18th year of sobriety.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've had a fair amount of family members that are in AA and I know the miracles that program of recovery provides.
Your family had the love to get you there but you've maintained the strength to stay...a day at a time. Bravo to you, Ginnie!

4:28 PM  
Blogger barbhap said...

Congratulation Ginnie! I am so grateful for the fellowship and the friends I have meet through AA.
Thanks for sharing.

5:09 PM  
Blogger dmmgmfm said...

What a wonderful thing to share, Ginnie. Your story will help many, of that I am certain.

6:31 PM  
Blogger kenju said...

Congratulations on reaching 19 years, Ginnie. I know it has been hard and I honor that.

8:13 PM  
Blogger Bud said...

You are a special lady Ginnie and I have watched you reach out to so many new people over the years . Everyone in AA loves Ginnie.

4:37 AM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

It's good to hear more of your story. I am surprised by the use of the term intervention and the concept too. I thought it was a new process. If it is mostly new, I'm glad your family was ahead of the curve.

7:32 AM  
Blogger Pam said...

A beautiful letter, Ginnie, and a hard-won victory. You are an incredible woman and an inspiration to others.

10:07 AM  
Blogger KGMom said...

You are one brave lady.
A number of years ago, I worked for a medical society that had an impaired physician program that I staffed.
I was always amazed at how families would intervene. You are fortunate to have had a family that cared that much.

8:17 PM  
Blogger Crayons said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. I have two friends who are long-standing followers of AA. They are two of the most evolved people I know. It seems like AA helps you confront yourself and become real. Congratulations on your continuing clarity of vision, one day at a time.

12:28 AM  
Blogger Bud said...

You are so right Ginny, Count me in. I'm
trying to live my life one "now" at a time.

2:31 AM  

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