My first AA meeting and struggle to say “My name is…”

The liquor store owner was certainly not fooled by my stories.

Each day I wrestle with fabricated excuses as to why a nicely dressed, middle class, soccer-mom-type was buying two bottles of cheap, potent whiskey. “I’m having a party tonight,” I lied, “and we’re playing Whiskey Pong.”

“I had lost a husband and a home and God”

My life had come to that—lies, excuses, and losses. I had lost a husband and a home and God. The God of my understanding couldn’t be a merciful, loving Father, as He would have never let me ruin my own existence. I had, and He had, I thought.

The room had a peculiar odor. It reeked of exhaustion, fear, hope and cigarettes. Everyone seemed to be holding a Styrofoam coffee cup. I forced a smile as a lady approached. “Welcome,” she stated. “I am Deb, Debby with a Y.”

“And that was a beginning”

And that was a beginning. The first, feeble steps of a long journey filled with angst and discovery and friendships. Debby with a Y sat next to me during that first meeting. I shook—from confusion, from horrific anxiety and from lingering withdrawal. Tears streamed silently down my cheeks. I wondered how I could function—even survive—without that caustic yet calming liquid I had chosen to swallow dozens of times each day.

Each person introduced themselves and followed that with a brief summary of the past week.

I heard, “It’s been a pretty good week, actually. I saw my kids over the weekend, worked some overtime and watched far too much TV.”

And, “My week sucked. I have a huge hospital co-pay and my neighbors are spending the whole summer outside, partying. I can smell beer through the open window and all I want to do is join them.”

“I realized it would soon be my turn”

I realized that it would soon be my turn. My throat closed with blind panic and my left side felt numb. I saw a bottle in my mind’s eye and I imagined gulping from it. That sweet poison ran through my bloodstream and I began to feel euphoric. “Stop!”

My mind began to race. I saw my son only on certain days; my X will never speak to me again . . . I was unemployed, and sleeping on a relative’s couch. My stomach was a mess, my hair thin, and I looked 20 years older than I actually was. Maybe the bottle wasn’t the devil. Was the devil a disease that I could fight and that I could understand? Would my God take my hand and hold on tightly?

There were two people left to share and then all eyes would fall on me. I could still leap up and run out the door. The liquor store was still open and I had money. Oblivion, an escape from this struggle was around the corner. “Stop!”

“I am Katie,” I stated. “And I am an alcoholic.”

Written by an anomymous recovering alcoholioc