Alan's story

I ruined everything in my life. Lots of good things happened to me. Wonderful wife, great job, fabulous career prospects, lovely house in a leafy part of town. But none of them were good enough for me. And I drank them all away. Alcohol: the great remover. Removes stains. Removes jobs. Removes bank balances. Removes self-respect. Removes families.

The last place I ever wanted to go was AA. One of my brothers killed himself rather than go to AA. I didn’t have his courage. But although I thought life without booze would be impossible, and pointless, I had nowhere else to go. I couldn’t live with booze - and I couldn’t live without it. The jumping off point.

I was surprised that people were happy to be at an AA meeting. Well dressed. Honest. Open. Welcoming. Kind. Not what I expected.

They told me about the recovery program. But I knew better than them and tried it my way. A fiasco. A kind man said to me ‘when you’re ready to get sober the way that we all got sober, it will work for you too’.

So I surrendered. Swallowed my pride. Let go of my old ideas. Took the cotton wool out of my ears and put it in my mouth. Did what was suggested. There’s nothing to ‘get’ in AA. Just a list of things to do.

Today I do them. Today I love my wonderful wife. Today I’m grateful for my challenging and rewarding work. Today I love our home. Today I’m so glad that I know what’s wrong with me, and, thanks to AA, I know what to do about it.

I share the journey of recovery with the most amazing people. They are like me and they love and accept me the way I am. I no longer have to pretend. I can be myself. It’s miraculous how life has changed. Instead of leaving a negative impression wherever I go, I can, on a good day, be useful to those around me.

The people in AA helped me when I couldn't help myself. Now I can do the same for others. That's how AA works.