Read Zara's Story
I started drinking very young, for reasons I do not know or feel are relevant, however growing into my teenage years and working through exams at college, I began to see the effect that the increasing intake of alcohol was having on me. I drank because of the lift alcohol gave me when it first hit that spot in the pit of my stomach, an American friend used to call it her ‘warm, safe, fuzzy feeling’ a very good description, the feeling is short-lived which is why I cannot refrain from picking up a drink to chase that feeling once it’s lost. Plunging into the turmoil of not being able to live with or without alcohol I tried to end my life, when I failed I gave up the fight. Admitting I couldn’t stop drinking nor could I refrain from picking up the first drink I came to my first meeting of AA and was immediately surrounded with love and hope, I admit my life hasn’t been plain-sailing since then but whatever I’ve had to deal with I’ve had my AA friends by my side sharing their similar experiences…all I need to know today is when I pick up that first drink I have a mental obsession and a physical compulsion that makes it extremely difficult to stop, this means any time I drink I usually end up in blackout.
As a young person I found it very hard to surrender and admit I couldn’t stop drinking. No way did I ever want to quit drinking for good, I was trying to fit in with my friends and family who drank, however AA members told me it was one day at a time, I have the choice not to drink. Knowing what it does to me and the consequences it brings I choose not to, however tomorrow I can drink if I want to…but not today. When I began to reach out and talked to fellow members I began to find other young people that were choosing to stop drinking and get help. Just because you’re young and you’re struggling with a drinking problem, it doesn’t have to mean the end of your life, the end of your social circle, there’s opportunity’s for you…I thought my life was over, I couldn’t see anything hopeful about the future…now is a miraculously different story.
I would love to continue sharing my story with you but I don’t want to take up the whole website and instead I will find some other young people to share their stories with you – so keep coming back and you can read and hear many other stories…don’t forget we’d LOVE to see you at a meeting. I very much hope you feel somewhat encouraged and even if I have said only one thing that you can relate to, I’m happy for that as it can only be a great step forward in your recovery. Every small step counts. We’re here for you.
Please do not hesitate to get in contact with me if there’s anything I can help with: firstname.lastname@example.org Alternatively, you will find the 24-hour helpline on our contact page.
Best Wishes from Zara H…x
Read Michael’s story ‘Today I’ll be almost 3 years sober and still only 25 years old’
Since a young age I have always had an addictive personality, from sweets to games. As I got older into my early teens I developed a taste for alcohol. I started off drinking lager but by the end I was heavily into spirits. The first time I got seriously drunk I was 14 to the extent that I could not walk and had to crawl into my bedroom. Though I was not drinking everyday as early as this. School holidays were always a good excuse to go out and get drunk. For example I would meet up with my mates early afternoon at the pub and spend the whole day in there until suppertime. Which I told myself was normal, it’s what people my age do. Even though I was only 16 at the time and still not old enough to drink!
By the time I reached the 6th form I was getting drunk most weekends and was using spirits to do so. I was not drinking because I enjoyed the taste of alcohol, I was drinking because I enjoyed getting drunk and drinking as much as possible. I found on these weekend night outs that bad things were starting to happen to me. From getting into fights, arguments with my girlfriend and parents and almost always having to throw up. My first rock bottom was when I had failed my A-Levels and not got accepted to the University of my choice. I put that down to drinking and partying too much in the 6th form and not studying enough. I was though given a second chance and went to a private university in London. Though this second chance was to prove dire and this is when my drinking spiralled out of control.
Between the ages of 19 and 22 I had dropped out of University 3 times and had gone to 4 separate rehabs, all in attempts to get sober.
I was drinking everyday and had become physically and mentally addicted to alcohol. These rehabs talked about a 12 step programme which I did not understand at first. They talked about God and though AA is a spiritual programme not a religious one, there is a emphasis on prayer and meditation in getting sober, working the steps with a sponsor and going to meetings. To me getting sober meant not to drink, I have learnt coming into AA it is much more than that. One has to be prepared to change their life and themselves in all aspects and be willing to accept the past and deal with the present.
Today I’ll be almost 3 years sober and still only 25 years old. I have come a long way compared to where my life was before. There is much less drama. My relationship with my parents has never been better. They have started to trust me again, I do not need to lie! Drinking took me to dark places, places that I do not need to go to today. When I came in, I was desperate. Now that I have sobriety I try to treasure it as I might not be here without it.
Read Molly's Story - 'The moment I stepped crying into the Young Person’s meeting, everything changed’
I didn’t start drinking alcoholically at first, but I knew my reaction toward it was abnormal.
As time went on, I began to rely on it to change the way I felt. The more I drank the more I had to drink, I became emotionally attached and obsessed. As the years went by, I destroyed relationships, ruined lives and broke hearts. Nobody wanted me anymore, and I was on the brink of losing everything. My drinking had taken me to complete isolation. I would shut myself away and often drink during the night when everyone was asleep because I didn’t want to hurt them. I was never violent, but extremely verbally abusive and my behaviour damaging.
I thought my life would stay like this forever. Stopping drinking wasn’t even worth contemplating. Did I have a problem? No, my problem was everyone else, getting in the way.
To be honest with you, I was too frightened and embarrassed to come to AA, why would I want to put myself in a difficult situation? Why would I want to lose the love of my life? Because then, I really would have nothing, and life really wouldn’t be worth living. Oh, how very wrong I was.
The moment I stepped crying into the Young Person’s meeting, everything changed. My big brother had given me the courage to at least give it a go. There I saw youngsters, just like me, smiling, laughing and looking nice, with bright sparkly eyes. I wanted that. They took me under their wings, carried me to meetings and constantly supported me. I felt relieved, utterly relieved that I had such an incredible support network, that had turned into fantastic friends, and that I needn’t ever drink ever again, I was loved back to life. After several months, I was blessed with the perfect sponsor for me.
I was excited to get underway and really start address a lot of issues, no matter how painful the process. For me the God stuff was never a problem, for he was my only friend when I had none. I enjoyed deepening my relationship with him and discovering not just the bad bits about myself but also the good bits and learning how to feel. For me, the Step 9 promises materialised before I even got to Step 9, and that was wonderful. Today my life is a mostly peaceful one, and even when it’s not, that’s ok, because I now have the tools and the weapons in order to cope efficiently. I have been through the steps, and continue to practise them and work my program on a daily basis. Sixteen months on, my entire life has changed, my mum laughs again, I’ve made more friends than I can count, got a new job, new house, new outlook, new attitude. Someone once told me that AA was the best thing that had ever happened to them, I thought they were mad, but today, I can agree, it really is the best thing that has ever happened to me and I hope it will be for you too.
Read Sarah’s story – ‘I was the last person I would have imagined could be an alcoholic’
I was 14 when I began daily drinking. I was the last person I would have imagined could be an alcoholic – the ultimate good girl raised in a stable, middle class family. I was shy, high-achieving but crippled with low self-esteem.
A bit of wine each night calmed my anxiety, and for a few years it didn’t cause much of a problem – I left Sixth Form with straight A’s and went to Durham University. However, my drinking was beginning to have consequences.
I was acting in ways I otherwise wouldn’t have, trying to validate myself with partying and guys. All that did was lower my sinking self-worth further.
When I got to university, my world began to crumble. I couldn’t cope being so far from home, my anxiety was higher than ever, and I sank into my addiction, hiding bottles of wine in my bedroom and living in misery. I knew I had a problem and went to my first AA meeting, but I didn’t want to accept my alcoholism.
The summer after my first year, everything fell apart. I was now a 24/7 drinker, and my self-loathing was such that I began cutting my arms. Trips to psychiatrists, day clinics and all kinds of help were futile. I ended up barricaded in my bedroom with bottles and blades.
In January 2008, I begged my family to take me somewhere. I couldn’t stop. That was my first residential stay in rehab and a psychiatric hospital.
Back in AA, I knew I was in the right place, but I struggled, resisted and didn’t stick around. Thus began around eight years of relapses, cross addictions into anorexia and binge-eating.
I went back to AA in February 2015, and my last drink was 22nd January 2016. The last drink was so bad, I was just tired. I wanted the happiness and freedom I saw in other AA members.
I had to do something different; I committed to doing what was suggested and not overthink.
Today, I am beyond blessed, and that is thanks to AA. I don’t think of a drink, and I’m HAPPY sober. That is a miracle.
A life exists beyond the bottle, I promise.