Wreckage of the Past

BY: CAROLYN A. | WELLAND, ONTARIO

I was 12 years old when my parents separated. I lived with my mom for a couple of years but asked to move in with my dad when I was about 14. By this time I was already drinking every chance I could. I hid it and pretended to be “good” around my dad, but when I went out with my friends I really let loose. I couldn’t control it. All I thought about was drinking. How, when, and how much booze could I get were thoughts that consumed me.

When I was 18, my dad met a woman (who he is now married to). This was the first woman he dated since he and my mom split up, and I was angry, confused, jealous. You name it, I felt it. But I hated feeling things. I didn’t know how to handle my emotions, so I drank more and more to numb myself. She saw through me though. I moved out, hating her so much for “taking my dad from me,” and of course living on my own gave me carte blanche to drink as much as I wanted, no more having to hide it from anyone.

My life spiraled out of control. I dropped out of school, I alienated myself from my family and friends, showed up at work when I felt like it, and became extremely depressed. I knew that I didn’t want to feel what I was feeling, so I drank more and more.

Eventually I decided I didn’t want to live that way anymore. Thank God, my mom had been in Al-Anon for about six years by this point, and was dating a man who I knew was in the program of AA. I called her up and asked if there was a meetings list lying around.

Fast forward one year. At the age of 22, I found myself one year sober speaking at the 30-year anniversary of a long-timer in my area. I invited my dad and stepmom to the meeting. My stepmom was still guarded and we still weren’t speaking, I couldn’t blame her, after what I put her and my dad through with my drinking. But they came. I was speaking, and without meaning to, I told the room about how I had treated her, and that she didn’t deserve that, and that most of all, I was sorry. I looked to the back of the room where I knew she was sitting, and she was crying. But she looked at me and smiled. I knew I didn’t have to be ashamed of my behaviour towards her anymore. She told me just to keep living the principles of AA, and that one day at a time, I would be OK.

“Wreckage of the Past”.  www.aagrapevine.org. 2011. https://www.aagrapevine.org/magazine/1952/nov/fourth-step.  2 Apr 2021