Gail recalls her experience as an alcoholic.
Hi, I am Gail. I am an alcoholic. I started Girls Gone Sober, which is my business, and it’s just to get T-shirts and hats, just to spread the message that we can still have fun without alcohol.
I have been sober two years and when, I guess I’ll start from the beginning. I guess I am like a fourth generation alcoholic so for me, I believe that it’s genetics.
And because from back I can remember I had a drinking, you know, always wanted to be the last one to leave the bar, always wanted to have booze wherever I went.
And I just didn’t know, I knew it got really bad but I didn’t realize when I left my marriage and my daughter that I was chasing the next drink because they tried to stop me from going out or going to the bar or doing things.
And because I was deep in my disease my reaction was, no, I need to leave. I am going to move and I am not happy here. I didn’t know at the time that I was chasing the next drink but I was. I know that now.
So I proceeded to leave my family and move to a town that I grew up in, which is a town that is quite known for spring break, lot of drinking and drugs.
And I moved back there and I lived in a trailer for a while and I continued to drink and drink and I got so bad that I was drinking in the morning until I blacked out at night.
I believe that with the grace of God I didn’t get any DUIs or I didn’t get into any trouble, but the damage I had already caused my family was huge.
One evening evidently I was another evening drunk and I woke up the next morning and my family was upset at me.
And I was always like, what did I do? I didn’t remember what I did, and it would seem to like I had to apologize.
And my daughter, who was 15 at the time, videotaped me and showed it to me. She said, “This is what you look like.”
I knew I needed help. I didn’t know what to do. So I went to my church, asked my pastor, he didn’t know where to send me and where to go.
So I drank some more but then I thought I would control it and I would write down how many drinks I will have in a day and I was saying I would have four and I was actually having eight.
Or if I say I had two I was actually having four, and that’s just the progressive of alcoholism, that’s what we do. We lie, we cheat, we steal, we manipulate.
As time went by I got drunk and fell down and landed on the tile floor in the hallway and I ended up in the emergency room and a girl I went to school with came in and gave me this chip and then walked out.
And it was a 24-hour chip just to get me sober for the next 24 hours. I proceeded to get worse to where I was throwing up. I was drinking my breakfast, lunch and dinner.
But I knew I needed help and I had cried out to my doctor and he finally got me into mental health facility, outpatient, and I visited them.
I walked in with a drink in my hand and the lady asked me, “What are you drinking?” And I said, “A vodka Coke.”
She said, “You can’t bring alcohol in here.” I said, “Well I can’t not bring alcohol in here, I have to have the booze.”
So she said “Well, if you are willing to go into treatment, when would you be willing to go?” And I said, “Any time like now or tomorrow.” And she said, “Well let me see if I can find a bed and I’ll call you back.”
So she called me later that afternoon and said, “I have a bed for you in treatment. You’ll leave,” this was on a Monday, she said, “You’ll leave on a Wednesday. Can you be ready? Would you be here?” And I said, “I’ll be there.”
Well, that Tuesday at 5 o’clock I had what I considered like my last supper. Oh my God, I am going into rehab. I am going into treatment. This is really going to be bad.
But at 5 o’clock that evening I had my dinner and I had my last drink. And people asked me, “If you knew you were going in a treatment and you weren’t going to drink again how come you just didn’t get completely drunk, fallign-down drunk?” And I said, “You don’t understand. I was done.”
I drank all the mystery out of it. I had ruined my family. Excuse me. I just needed help and I didn’t know where to go.
So I packed my bags and went to treatment and since I got there the treatment center had different rooms, names of rooms, one there was like serenity and destiny and hope. And I got there and they checked me in, they said, “Okay, you are going to be in this room and you are going to be in the room named ‘hope.’”
And for the first few weeks you are in there you are not allowed to talk to your family or anything, just through mail, letters.
And I was there probably about three or four days in treatment and my daughter sent me a book and it was “Hope.” So I knew I was supposed to be there.
I knew I was at the right place and from that point on I just knew where I was supposed to stay sober and that I could do this and I just gave it.
You know I was willing to do whatever it took to not drink again and it was really hard to stop but it’s hard to stay stopped, too. It takes a lot of work and a lot of faith.
I always grew up with a God. It wasn’t a punishing God, it was just my religion. And I heard one time from another alcoholic, religion is for people who believe in hell and spirituality is for people who have been there. And I had been there.
I got home. I got out of treatment, I got home and when I got out of treatment I just wanted a juicy cheese burger and an ice cold soda.
And they said, as soon as you leave here you need to go and reach out to other alcoholics. And I got home and that was the first thing I did, I walked up to a 12-step program and the lady outside was a lady who I had known for 25 years.
We partied together for years and she reached out her hand and she said, “You are in the right place. Welcome home.”
Today I have a God of my understanding and I pray differently today than I did when I drank. When I drank it was always, oh dear God, please get me home, or, oh dear God, please don’t let me get a DUI.
And now I pray different. I thank God for my sobriety. I thank him for the little things, for the life I have today.
I have a great life today and I am really active in it and part of my recovery. That’s what I do every single day. You know, life happens and we live life on life’s terms.
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Interview Scheduled By In The Rooms®: A Global Recovery Community.