Saturday, 9 April 2016

My Friend Annie

One of the sober bloggers I follow is Annie (A Dappled Path).

I feel like I know Annie really well. Partly because she wears her heart on every page of her blog, and partly because we also e-mail each other frequently. It even turns out we have mutual friends in the real world. I've told her my real name.

Annie's been blogging for way longer than me. But she's on Day 7.

I - along with thousands of others - have followed her heart wrenching struggle from Day 1 to Day 1 over and over again. And we've all been there, haven't we?

My journey has got easier and easier, and more and more miraculous, over the last thirteen months. Meanwhile Annie has thrown herself, courageously, at those horrible first obstacles over and over again, and never made it to the field of bunnies on the other side (see my post The Obstacle Course).

Well yesterday, for the first time in months, Annie made it to Day 7 (yay!). And this time she sounds different. More determined, more confident.

Like most of us, Annie finds Friday evenings the hardest, so she plucked up the courage to go to an AA meeting (she's a braver girl than I am).

Annie has a love hate relationship with AA. The problem is that whenever she hears a gruesome tale of someone's rock bottom, she thinks 'that's not me!' (or, deep down, I don't want that to be me) and she drives straight from the meeting to the wine shop.

(I totally understand that. After all, I still refuse to call myself an 'alcoholic.' It's partly why I've never been to a meeting myself).

Annie blogged about last night's meeting, explaining that she can't associate with the hardened alkies, and a lady called haplesshomesteaders posted a response that I thought so wise I had to share it. Here it is:

Once, early in my sobriety, I told my sponsor that the stories of “people NOTHING like me” I heard in meetings made me feel like I was just fine, and that moderation was more for my sort than abstinence.

She told me I was half right. I was different than they were. I was worse off.

They had been sober longer, understood how serious their problem was, and didn’t use others’ experiences as (yet another) excuse to drink. They were also more generous than I was, willing to share honestly the stories of their addiction to help me get sober.

She had me.

She told me I had to stop looking for differences and start looking for similarities — it was my giant alcoholic ego that kept me from seeing them. I’m glad to hear that you do see some of those similarities.

And one final word from my sponsor (ha ha) — she said that because of luck (financial circumstances, mental and physical health, supportive family, timing) — and not because of any specialness on my part — alcohol had not visited some of those horrors you talk about (losing kids, constant drunkenness) on me.

But the seeds were there, and had I kept drinking, my addiction certainly could have brought down all that and worse. That is one of the many reasons I am so grateful for AA.

If you find this post, haplesshomesteaders, then thank you. For telling it like it is, and for making me think.

And now I am dying to hear if Annie made it through to Day 8. I've checked her blog. I've e-mailed her. Not a peep.

I'm, literally, on the edge of my seat.

Annie and I have agreed to meet up in real life once the kids are back in school. I'm excited about it, but also terrified. It's like a blind date - you're desperate to get on as well as you think you will, but know you'll be gutted if you don't....

So, Annie, whether you're on Day 1 or Day 8, know that we are all willing you on.

Sending you, and everyone else in the same boat, a big virtual hug.

SM x


  1. I AM HERE! ON DAY 8! Thank you, SM, for this lovely post. Thank you for caring about me. Annie x

    1. Whoop! Whoop! Awesome work, my friend Annie xxx

    2. Annie I have just clicked on the email to check on your progress! Well done! I find Friday and Saturday 5pm wine o-clocks the toughest times. Just got to battle on through. I am now heading to your blog. Happy Sunday everyone. I am on day 29. Tomorrow I need to stop stuffing my face with chocolate and cakes.....

  2. I don't know you but I want you to dig deep within and find the way to be who you are.

    1. Hi Hilary! Are you talking to me or to Annie? Am I not being who I am? Confused.... Hugs xxx

    2. No, no - I read it as a you, admiring the path you've found! And the way you are helping to bring so many of us along.

  3. I would love to meet you both in real life :) I follow your blog as well as Annie's. Thank you for the motivation!

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  5. Funny just yesterday I had this thought of one day meeting all of you across the pond!
    Boston Strong/ Boston Sober

    1. Feeling the same! This sense of community is soooooo helpful in the desire day-to-day to stay with what we are trying to do! And finding such commanality among us....

  6. I have a friend of more than 40 years. She had a life of major privilege (very unlike mine!) and she had major struggles with alcohol, much of which she was open about with me. Way back in the early years of our friendship, she is one of those who went to AA...and thought, 'oh thank god! I'm nothing like them!' She even picked up a 'tip' about drinking from a story by one of the other attendees. So, the first time didn't take. But eventually 'something' did. And she has been happily sober for more than 30 years.

    I'm one of those who stuggled w the idea of AA , mainly because of the relatively small community I'm in (well, and their basic premise is also a personal stumbling block). But I knew I needed to do something; I knew the way I was living (drinking) was NOT good.....I was just so fortunate to happen across this blog. It, and some others, have given, and daily give, me the strength and confidence to move forward.

    This is working for me; but whatever it is that helps anyone - more power to them!

  7. I love Annie and her blog! She is the one who led me to you and I'm grateful for you both!! Day 11 here. So helpful to have my daily reading with you two!

  8. Ithink Annie's tale is the reality for many of us who don't record their journey. I have read a lot of her back catalogue and I recognise me in her. I basically had to frighten myself and wear my drinking self down to a point where there became little alternative other than to stop drinking or accept that there would be no long term future but it took a decade (really). Even in 2006 I knew I was on a self destructive path. So I have never judged Annie's on/off strugglesbut I have worried when here blog has fallen silent. I can't do AA. I have considered asking for some drug help but iI have been more fortunate this time although it takes its toll in lifestyle terms (I don't see some of my friends anymore). There is no doubt it has been a hard dozen or so weeks and I wouldn't have made it this far without SM, Annie, Red, Hapless! TATB, TWTIK and many others. Annie, it is worth it, you know that better than me. So I'll keep thinking of you. Thanks SM.


  9. That is wonderful! For Day 8 and that you are close by! I think that lots of us have hangups and unsubstantiated opinions about AA, but it is whatever works. And huge congrats to Annie for taking such a brave step. xx

  10. I truly hope Annie hears what you and everyone else is saying.
    I have "known" her for a long time, and have supported her 100%.
    I have always prayed she would recognize the potential down side of alcohol abuse before it takes her down further.

    No one is forced to make any self declarations at meetings. And, although AA is not my path, I do encourage bloggers living sober to at least go to a meeting so they know themselves what they are all about. If noting else, you can feel like a bad ass because you used to be a drunk and you aren't anymore! Lol

    Open mind, open heart.


  11. I love your obstacle post! That is what is keeping me going to 100 days, I want to get there, climb that wall!

  12. Another great blog. Thank you

  13. Oops! Sorry about the slip up. I meant to the post to go to Annie. X

  14. Oops! Sorry about the slip up. I meant to the post to go to Annie. X

  15. Found what hapless homesteaders had to say so very moving. I was nowhere near rock bottom but was starting to hate the greediness I was feeling for alcohol and wanted it to stop. Because of my situation and lifestyle I was very lucky that I was able to commit to it. Who knows where i would be if I lived in an environment where drink and drugs were the norm! I had been trying to cut back for years but just kept wanting more when I started again. Stopping altogether has been easier. Not easy but not as hard as trying to moderate my drinking. The secret online support has done it for me. Go Annie!!!