Sunday, December 27, 2015

1950 …my first taste of the “bubbly”.

I was 17 in 1950 and, believe it or not, I had never tasted alcohol. My folks were not drinkers and it just never seemed like the thing to do. I guess that's why I can remember my first drink so clearly. It was after a tennis game and I was exhausted and sweaty. My partner insisted that a cold beer was just the thing to fix that. This would have sounded ridiculous coming from one of my nerdy schoolmates but my partner was (sigh) a college man and that made it seem sophisticated and daring. We jogged over to his car and he popped the lid off a can of beer that he'd kept in his cooler. He poured it into a mug and handed it to me. I tried to act casual as I put the foaming drink to my mouth but the taste was ATROCIOUS and I spit most of it out … so much for my “College Man”.

Looking back I wish I could say it was the last time that alcohol was part of my life; but that's not true. Nor have I ever been able to pinpoint when my social drinking became a problem and turned into alcoholism. I was 56 years old before my husband finally faced what I could not. He and my children joined forces and held a family intervention which forced me to take action. That was the start of a long journey that started in June, 1989 at a treatment center in Charlotte, NC and continues to this day.

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 open to a new way of life. I willingly became part of this huge fellowship.

If there is one thing I’ve learned it’s that there is endless love that floats around unclaimed. 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. As it says in our Tradition #3 “The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking” and that opens the door to anyone who wants it.

My husband died in 1990 … barely a year after he set me on my AA journey. I've often wondered what would have become of me if he hadn't shown the courage to make me face what I couldn't see for myself. Thank you, Richard, you are my hero.


Blogger Marie Smith said...

What an incredible husband and family. Your journey has been a long one and so valuable in its lessons for others too. AA is a wonderful organization. My mother would say that angels take many forms on earth to help us on our way. Mine showed up out of nowhere, carrying
a can of gas when I needed it. Yours...

Thank you for sharing your story.

6:52 AM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

I was older than you before I siped my first drink -- champagne if I am remembering correctly. I am a very moderate drinker. If I have wine, it is usually a small tipple. I don't like beer on its own, preferring it (when I have it) with food (eg chips, pizza).

It is awesome that you're family had an intervention before intervention became a thing. Good for Richard et al, and gooder for you because you are the one who did it.

7:47 AM  
Blogger NCmountainwoman said...

What an inspiring story. Kudos to you, Ginnie. You have succeeded where so many fail.

8:33 AM  
Blogger kenju said...

Congratulations on starting - and continuing that journey. I think I was 16 when I first tasted beer (although an uncle gave me some when I was three and supposedly I liked it a lot.) I am a very moderate drinker - thank God for that - since I am an otherwise addictive personality. But if I ever found myself drinking too much, I would not hesitate to join AA. Thy do wonderful work and accomplish great things. So glad you are a part of it.

6:57 PM  
Blogger troutbirder said...

Wonderful. My brother in law has a similar story. We are so proud of him....:)

3:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sad that your husband saw so little of your recovery. David will celebrate 35 years in February, so I've been more fortunate. Thanks to his enlightened employer, David found himself in several rehab places before he found his way to sobriety. Today, we try to live One Day at a Time. My brother appears to have finally found his way to AA. We pray for several of our children who have alcohol issues, however daughter Connie is sober, 34-35 years, and her hubby too.

Happy New Year to you!

8:47 AM  
Blogger Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Thanks for sharing this very oersonal story here, Ginnie. Your family made a bold move, but it was you who followed through and kudos to you and to Richard! Wishing you all the best in this fast approaching New Year. Thanks as well for your comments on our blog posts this past year.

5:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for you greeting and a Happy New Year to you too, Ginnie.

6:32 AM  

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