Hi. My name is Merl and I'm an alcoholic

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Merl
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Re: Hi. My name is Merl and I'm an alcoholic

Post by Merl »

Good morning Tosh, Robert and all,

You had me laughing as I thought about what you both said and looked at my "self built busy pack" that I created. Yes, an actual pack that I keep next to me in the living room, take with me in the car incase I have to wait somewhere etc. It's like my survival kit. I thought about it and found it's more a tool to keep from thinking about how I'm feeling. I have spent nearly 40 years of my life drinking. When I was growing up it was common to have wine on the table for all to have with their meal. It was no big deal. Late teen years came along and I developed a taste for hard liquor. I knew responsibility with regard to drinking as I had grown up with it on the table. It was acceptable. Or so I thought. It's not acceptable when it becomes a daily habit, when you NEED it EVERYDAY. Please keep in mind as I say this that I am not making excuses, I'm just sharing a little history. I thought nothing of a drink or two every night. I never passed out, blacked out, always recalled the events of the evening, never missed work, never drank at family gatherings ( children present and I did not want to set a bad example - that should have been my clue ) never used money that was for food, shelter, clothing, taxes for booze, never drove after drinking, in fact would only drink once home and the keys were put up for the night and never fought with my spouse, the love of my life. Sounds like it was under control. But I've learned it was not as I needed it. It wasn't a take it or leave it deal. In January 2011 I developed pneumonia. It held on until early March. In March 2011 Mama started to cough. She said it was just a cold. On March 25th she collapsed, full code. I had her revived and she was on life support for weeks. She communicated by blinking or squeezing my hand. One day she looked at me and squeezed my hand. She looked up at the ceiling, looked at my Virgin Mary medal and pulled my hand down. After some back and forth communication, she nodded when I said " you saw Mary and she told you that you had to go back". She nodded. She then tapped my watch with two fingers. I asked her if she wanted two of something. After more communication back and forth, I said "2 weeks ?" She nodded and looked up. Two weeks to the day she coded twice. I sat, watching the monitor. I had spent 25 years iworking in health care. I knew what was happening and the machines were only keeping her here. I recalled what she communicated to me as she tried to smile behind all of the tubes. It was exactly two weeks. I was holding her hand and I told the staff let her go. She was suffering and was only being kept alive by the machines. It was the hardest thing I ever did. After she left I felt dead inside. She died of pneumonia and it caused cardiac failure. It was my fault. She was house bound and had caught it from me. I've lived with that guilt and still do. I began to drink more but only in the evening when the busyness of the day was quiet. Many other family members and friends have passed since. I never cried at Mamas wake or funeral or afterward or at the loss of other family members or friends. Eventually the pain of the losses became too much to bear. I was drinking 2 to 3 bottles of 1.750 of whiskey a week. It didn't effect me. It took more and more for me to feel the least bit numb. I prayed for an answer. I received my answer and it brought me here. I was diagnosed with PTSD several months ago as I went through traumatic events without actually experiencing them fully. To say the least, it's kicking my butt now and I wasn't helping myself by hiding behind the liquor. Well, that's the whole story of Merl. I'm on day 6 of sobriety. Tosh, I admire you're fortitude and your sharing. You made me laugh at myself. Robert, you've made me ask myself, " What is your dream". I'll be cheering you on your journey of Scotland. I may ask for a postcard. You all are awesome. Thank you. I am forever grateful to you all. I'll do my darnedest not to let anyone of you down. Now onward with day six of my journey. :D
Hugs and God bless,
Merl

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Tosh
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Re: Hi. My name is Merl and I'm an alcoholic

Post by Tosh »

That was a powerful share, Merl, thanks. I know what you mean about trying to avoid how you're feeling; I suspect our emotional muscles grow weak as our reliance upon alcohol increases, and when we stop drinking, we're pretty raw and sensitive inside. I once heard a speaker saying that when he first put the drink down, he'd cry at dog food commercials; I really identified with that.

And although I don't relate to the circumstances around your Mum's death, I certainly do relate to the feelings of guilt.

In fact I was a bit of a star pupil when it came to self flagellating myself, so much so, a kind lady took me to one side after a meeting where I'd been running myself down - telling everyone how baaaaaad I was - and she explained that the "I'm so so bad" thoughts just came from the same place as the "I'm so so great" thoughts; it's just our egos telling us lies. For now, I'd say don't trust those guilty thoughts and as you work through the 12 Steps, more will be revealed.

Anyway, gotta run; dinner's ready. :D
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)

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Brock
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Re: Hi. My name is Merl and I'm an alcoholic

Post by Brock »

Powerful share from Merl indeed, as Tosh said the steps will help with any guilt you now feel.

I sat in my car outside the church at my mothers funeral, and downed large gulps of liquid courage to keep me steady during the service. As fate would have it I now attend Sunday morning meetings in a room at the same church, but the guilt of her never seeing me get my sober act together is gone. Someone here suggested writing an apology and burning it, I prayed and apologized as I watched the smoke rise, when I closed my eyes there was a clear vision of her smiling at me.

Your faith is a joy to read, this program can be done with little faith, and this grows as we go along, but with what you have I believe the road will be smoother for you, from chapter five - “In this book you read again and again that faith did for us what we could not do for ourselves.” The work required is small compared to the rewards, best of luck.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."

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Niagara
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Re: Hi. My name is Merl and I'm an alcoholic

Post by Niagara »

Hey Merl,

Good to see you're still with us.

I'm a mother myself. All I want to see is my children happy and healthy.....though 2 of those are children no longer. They hurt, I hurt. To see them grow and become, is amazing. I do believe your mum will be cheering you on from another place right now.

So, are you started with the steps yet? Managed to get out to a meeting? I think it took me about a week to get out to a meeting, maybe a little longer. It's hazy now. I know I was very aware that I smelled like something my dog threw up for quite a few days after quitting. It's not a pleasant disease.

The important thing to remember was I could never stayed stopped previously. I'd always ended up back on it - so whilst I had that period of grace that had allowed me to stop for a little while, when I hit AA, i had to delve into the solution fast. I wasn't going to last long, doing it on willpower, even with all the support in the world.

Best wishes
If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn't sit for a month -
Theodore Roosevelt

Merl
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Re: Hi. My name is Merl and I'm an alcoholic

Post by Merl »

Hi Niagara,

Yep, on day 6. Yesterday was a test. Went to a holiday craft/bazzar at the fairgrounds. It was huge. Amid all of the festive decorations that I'm having a hard time wrapping my mind around being "up" to the holidays, they were calling out " Get your beer here. Wine here, no waiting!" I saw people walking around with cup fulls of "cheer". I thought to myself, really, here? Is that necessary? It's a craft show! My spouse asked if I wanted anything ( innocently ). I said, "Yes!" And walked right over to the pastry counter and dove into a chocolate fudge brownie! I'm not a dessert person. But I have to admit, it went down easy! I passed on the "cheer". I high fived myself and am sure I gained five pounds. But I stayed focused. This journey may be rocky, but it's mine and I want to enjoy it as much as I can.

Going for day 7 and a meeting tomorrow. Wish me luck.
Merl

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Re: Hi. My name is Merl and I'm an alcoholic

Post by AAPJ »

Merl - Peter the alcoholic here. Great shares. Thanks. I'm not far ahead of you with 15 days now. This whole thread has been very positive and it really makes me feel good about being here. Regarding your first meeting tomorrow. Not a big deal at all. At least not for me. I have done 4 so far. But I'm a re-tread and I am finding it a lot easier the second time around. Mostly great people there. Yes you may find some you don't like as well (at least I have) but don't let them turn you off. You may want to try a couple of different AA meeting groups to see where you fit in the best. Based on reading your posts I would guess you are in a much more accepting place than I was the first time around. I was just awful. Please let us know how it goes. TFLMS.

Troy M.
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Re: Hi. My name is Merl and I'm an alcoholic

Post by Troy M. »

Great share Merl! I moving on into my 2nd month of sobriety and it does seem to get easier as I focus on my spiritual state. When I got going, I swore that I wasn't go to a meeting every day, but I have seemed to settled in to attending about 5 meetings every week. The fellowship seems to be a real key for me even though I have turned into a sort of loner over the past 30 years. I'm not really enjoying the before meeting chit-chat, but am discovering that its not too painful but I'm still trying to work through the urge to bolt from the meeting the moment we say "Amen".

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Re: Hi. My name is Merl and I'm an alcoholic

Post by leejosepho »

Merl wrote:I knew responsibility with regard to drinking as I had grown up with it on the table. It was acceptable. Or so I thought. It's not acceptable when it becomes a daily habit, when you NEED it EVERYDAY.
Why not? There are many things we need daily in order to live, and there is no law of God or man saying we should not drink daily if needed...and I mention this because this kind of thinking can turn around and bite us after we discover we cannot stop. To say it is unacceptable for an alcoholic to need to drink daily ultimately translates into saying it is unacceptable for the alcoholic to need a daily dose of spiritual fellowship as a "sufficient substitute" (page 152) for the alcohol.
Merl wrote:I was drinking 2 to 3 bottles of 1.750 of whiskey a week. It didn't effect me. It took more and more for me to feel the least bit numb. I prayed for an answer. I received my answer and it brought me here...

I'll do my darnedest not to let anyone of you down...
No need to be concerned there since we demand nothing of each other. Just keep in mind that in order to not end up getting our daily dose of something from somewhere else we get it from spiritual fellowship with each other right here in A.A.
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================

Merl
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Re: Hi. My name is Merl and I'm an alcoholic

Post by Merl »

You're right. Thanks. I guess I'm being to harsh with myself. So with that I'll say wish me luck...I'm on day 7 and going to my first meeting right now. Moving forward.

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Tosh
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Re: Hi. My name is Merl and I'm an alcoholic

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Merl wrote:You're right. Thanks. I guess I'm being to harsh with myself. So with that I'll say wish me luck...I'm on day 7 and going to my first meeting right now. Moving forward.
Your first meeting? Wow. I just assumed you'd been to some already; me and my assumptions eh? :lol:

It's my homegroup meeting tonight. I'm treasurer and I sometimes stand in for the chairperson if he can't do it. I also help with setting up the room and putting it back the way it was when we finish.

I chose this homegroup for all the wrong reasons (but right for me); it's the closest meeting to me, the car parking is plentiful, the seats are comfy, and it was also my very first meeting.

I'll be thinking of you, Merl, I hope your meeting chimes with you, like my first chimed with me.
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)

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PaigeB
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Re: Hi. My name is Merl and I'm an alcoholic

Post by PaigeB »

Welcome Merl - glad you found us and I hope you keep coming back here. I found e-aa to be a great way to stay in daily contact, even if I couldn't make it to a meeting that day!
keep in mind that in order to not end up getting our daily dose of something from somewhere else we get it from spiritual fellowship with each other right here in A.A.
ditto that
Cling to the thought that, in God's hands, the dark past is the greatest possession you have - the key to life and happiness for others. With it you can avert death and misery for them. page 124 BB

Merl
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Re: Hi. My name is Merl and I'm an alcoholic

Post by Merl »

Hi Tosh, PaigeB and all,

Yes Tosh. Yesterday was my first meeting. I loved it. I was surprised at how openly accepted I was. I couldn't wait to go to my next meeting today. I read chapter one from the Big Book. Turned my light out at 1am and fell asleep. I woke feeling well rested. It was still dark outside. I picked up my clock and it was 2:37am!!! AUGH!!!!! I thought it was morning and time for me to get ready to go to my meeting. I felt like a little kid on Christmas eager to go open the presents under the tree. Ten hours later I was at my meeting...Ahhhh. Joy! Couldn't wait to tell you all about how great I feel about it. I feel so blessed to have found you all here and my group. Tosh, I think this will be my "home group". I really like the people there. One person bullied me today after the meeting but I handled it quietly and calmly. I'll put it up to maybe they were having a negative attitude type day. If it happens again, I'll let it be known to the group leader. I will not be swayed from my journey or my group by one person. Onward to day nine tomorrow. :D My next meeting is Friday. One of the group members phoned me tonight and we had a nice conversation. Tomorrow I'll call one of my group members and of course I'll be here too. I am so grateful to you all. I made one choice and have received so many blessings in just eight days. You all are among the blessings I have received. Love you all. Peace.

Merl

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Tosh
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Re: Hi. My name is Merl and I'm an alcoholic

Post by Tosh »

That's fantastic, Merl, I'm really pleased the meetings are chiming with you and that you're feeling a 'part of'. As for your choice of homegroup, my suggestion would be to share in the meeting that you'd like it to be your homegroup, explain why (we all like a bit of positive feedback when we're doing something right), and ask for a service post.

It's a good commitment to make. I make an effort to get to my homegroup every week (it's no big deal since I used to be drunk everyday) and if I miss a week and not let anyone know in advance, there's members there who will phone me to check I'm okay. It's a safety net.

And they feel like family now.

Oh, and your thinking is spot on around the guy who tried to bully you. Occasionally we'll meet some characters who we don't warm to immediately, in fact I can remember one-or-two who I positively disliked. I'm human. And I'd never let a minority prevent me from going to A.A.. I need A.A. far more than it needs me.

Also, another normal suggestion is to keep your ears open for a sponsor:

Leaflet on sponsoring here:
http://www.nld-aa.org.uk/documents/sponsorship/Q&A.pdf

It's not a contract of marriage, sponsors aren't our 'controllers', they're someone who does a bit like what I've been doing, just making suggestions of what worked for us, introducing people to A.A., encouraging them into service, and showing them our 12 Step program.

Hope you have a good day, Merl, I've got to get to work.

Regards

Tosh
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)

Merl
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Re: Hi. My name is Merl and I'm an alcoholic

Post by Merl »

Hey thanks Tosh. That's really helpful. I'm really liking this site too. Had a rough day today but toughed it out. Got thrown a couple curves, stayed focused, came here and read some of others posts and such, read the Big Book, made some notes and am ready to hit the meeting tomorrow. Staying strong. Got you all with me right? Such a blessing.

Merl

Merl
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Re: Hi. My name is Merl and I'm an alcoholic

Post by Merl »

Troy M. wrote:Great share Merl! I moving on into my 2nd month of sobriety and it does seem to get easier as I focus on my spiritual state. When I got going, I swore that I wasn't go to a meeting every day, but I have seemed to settled in to attending about 5 meetings every week. The fellowship seems to be a real key for me even though I have turned into a sort of loner over the past 30 years. I'm not really enjoying the before meeting chit-chat, but am discovering that its not too painful but I'm still trying to work through the urge to bolt from the meeting the moment we say "Amen".
Hey Troy,

You're doing great. I was always a loner of sorts. That is until I met my spouse. I get what you mean about the fellowship. Did you feel like you were immediately, unconditionally accepted? I did. That blew my mind. I never got that before except with my spouse and my in-laws. Hang in there. I'm hanging in there right along with you.

Peace brother,
Merl

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