Category Archives: Alcohol

Gemmey’s Mom

Gemmey’s Mom can’t take it anymore. She is sure she is going to loose her mind. He screams and screams and beats on her. She just doesn’t know what is wrong with him. He does not talk, he just screams.

He is almost 2 years old and has not even said “Mama”. It breaks her heart. She is pretty sure that he is autistic. He is showing the signs. The social workers think so. She has some literature to read and has had meetings with a specialist.

She loads him into the stroller and walks down the street to the little market. You can hear Gemmey letting out a shrill scream every so often as she walks him. She goes into the market and directly to the beer case, where she picks out two 40 oz. of the cheapest beer. That will do for now. She smiles tensely and chats with the girl at the counter and looks nervously about as Gemmey lets out another scream. She has got to go! “Bye now! Have a good day!”

She goes back home and pours herself a beer and gets Gemmey to settle down for a morning nap. Finally. Thank God. Then she reads some material on autism given to her, dreading the facts. Her husband has already left her. She loved him so. But they fought. When they drank, they fought. He has been very little help with Gemmey. He wants to see him, but she is afraid. She is afraid he will steal Gemmey away from her. She would loose her mind without that baby. She has lost 2 before to miscarriages. She has another beer. Then another. She is buzzed pretty well by the time Gemmey wakes up.

She feeds him lunch and plays a little with him, then off they go. Into the stroller again. Into the little market again. To the beer case again. Two more 40 oz. cheap beers. Her demeanor is more relaxed and she is laughing a little as she converses with the girl at the counter this time. Gemmey yells loudly. She uses some sign language on Gemmey that she learned from the social worker. The sign stands for , “Need help” as she asks Gemmey, “Need help Gemmey ?”. It is time to go. Off for a walk down by the river. Gemmey’s mom says, “See ya later sweetie!” to the girl at the counter.

It is mid afternoon when the girl at the counter is getting off of work. She sees Gemmey and his mom going by heading for home. Gemmey is sleepy looking in his stroller and his mom is sleepier looking. His mom is walking in a weaving pattern down the sidewalk. She slurs her speech as she tells the girl to “Have a good day and see you tomorrow.” She and Gemmey are going home for a later afternoon nap. Actually almost evening nap.

She appears hours later looking rugged with Gemmey in tow. She is on her way to the little market again. She is with some guy she met down at the river and they are both heading to the beer case. More 40 oz. beers are bought. Twice more that evening, they come back for more before the market closes. By the last time, she is almost in a blacked out state, you can see from the way her eyes look. There is an almost vacant look about them. If you have ever seen anyone blacked out from too much alcohol, you will know what I mean. It is a look like none other. It is like the person is there physically, but that person is literally gone in a temporary alcohol haze. She stumbles and weaves her way down the street with her friend and her son.

Her days are filled with a similar routine, over and over. Eventually someone calls the cops when they cannot get her to answer her door in the middle of the day and she is discovered drunk with her baby awake inside the house. Children’s Services is called in and her son goes to foster care.

She goes to rehab twice. She makes it through one 30 day program. She gets Gemmey back. She tries not to drink. She really tries. It is just too hard for her. She is down on her luck, no money, no husband to help her, no car with an autistic child. It is just too much for her and she begins again to drink.

Her husband shows up and they talk about getting back together. They drink together and walk Gemmey around town. Later in the evenings, they argue and fight. It gets violent. She gets a knife and slices his tires. There is a lot of screaming and cussing and he goes after her. He leaves and takes Gemmey with him.

Eventually, she looses custody of Gemmey to her husband. He can only handle Gemmey for so long and puts him up for adoption. She looses Gemmey forever. She drinks more.

Gemmey’s mom is a very sweet, loving and funny young woman………when she is not drunk. Gemmey’s mom is hindered by her drinking problem. Gemmey’s mom looses 2 more children throughout the next few years. Gemmey’s mom now lives on the streets. Gemmey’s mom “Needs Help”.

Dear God, please grant her the serenity to accept the things that she cannot change, courage to change the things that she can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen.


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Hello My Name Is… Part 1

©2008 ~Bunnis

©2008 ~Bunnis

Written and contributed by Anonymous Author

So I was asked to just jot down my story and my recovery by a friend. I thought this was the perfect opportunity to revisit my past.

I am an alcoholic, and proud to admit that. I am a member of Alcoholics Anonymous in South Africa. This is the first time I have told my story from beginning to end for a very long time. I hope you don’t mind and you give me a little license here to write what needs to be written. It is going to work out to be quite a long read, but to tell you the truth I am doing this more for myself than I am for you. I NEED to tell this right now, at this juncture in my life.

Where to start, I suppose the beginning is always a good place to start. So the beginning then:

I am a young man, having turned 25 earlier this year, from a loving, albeit broken, family. My mother and father separated in 1997 and to tell you the truth, I was happy when it happened. It has not been easy, but I know that I have the love and support from my family. The family life was always good, even if my father did drink excessively at certain points in my past. But I would never hold this against him. I will skip though the formative years, as there is not much that happened in my life that impacts much on my story.

So fast-forward 6 years, I am still a young boy, 6 in fact, and a little something came into our family, a little girl. 6 years younger than me and 10 years in the junior of my brother. Now as much as I love my sister now, I never had a particularly good relationship with her. She’ll probably read this excerpt of my life story, so sis, I apologise for anything upfront. I was extremely jealous of her. She was the new kid on the block and I felt that all my parents’ attention had been turned away from me to her. This is entirely understandable though. She almost never pulled through when she was born, she was very premature and was a sickly baby for many months after her birth.

I must outline here that I am an incredibly selfish person. An ex-girlfriend of mine has recently told me so, but I appreciate her honesty, as much as it hurts. Being a selfish person means I demand peoples attention and when it is not given I get upset… This is a downfall of mine that I am working on. As I grew up from here, I gradually become more and more obsessed with myself, going through periods of extreme highs (bordering on disgusting arrogance) to points where my self-confidence was shot and I often felt as though I was not worthy of others.

My drinking began at 12. My father had a great collection of booze lying around the house. A bottle of Jamesons later, and I was lying on the bathroom floor vomiting my stomach dry, eventually passing out on the bathroom floor. The next day started the 8 years of hell lived in. You see my hangovers were legendary. I suffered for the poisons I shoved into my body. Anyway, the next 8 years are much of a blur for me. I can highlight some of the more extreme times.

In the beginning I started out a twice a month binge drinker. This increased to the stage that I was drinking 7 days a week, and blacking out on 5 of those occasions a week. So my modus operandi was the following. Get home from school during the week. Fuck around until about 20h30, go to my room, have a couple of smokes do some homework, sneak downstairs and steal a bottle of wine from my old mans cellar (an impressive cellar, so a couple of bottles a week never went noticed). Sneak back up to my room, open the bottle (with my trusty waiters friend that lived in my drawer) and pour a good glass of red wine… Then I would really get into the flow of writing! Generally I would pass out around midnight and wake for school at 06h00. Great lifestyle I thought, I was coping, doing all my work and getting good grades.

Weekends would roll around and we would roll into the local, and literally roll out 6 hours later. My mates, I thought at the time, were guppies compared to me.. I could drink any of them under the table. There was a time at school that I thought I had a problem and I spoke to my mentor at school, he was concerned but let me know that ultimately I had to make the decision. This decision took another 3 years to make.

School went by in a haze of cigarette smoke and red wine, my poison of choice. There was a period in my school career where I stopped drinking and smoking. This was short lived but I felt at the time I had to do it as I was playing national sport, and I knew that if I carried on I would throw it away. So I stopped cold turkey and things seemed fine… Thing is a non alcoholic would not have started drinking after a 6 month break with a bottle of whiskey, a full bottle. I was drinking on school property, getting found out by the staff, even drinking with the staff on occasions. My charm always got me through and I never got into shit for it. But school was small fry for me. The days of varsity were hitting, HARD!

The December before I started my university career, it was my brothers 21st. We had a big party, and I was surrounded with red wine basically on tap and gin to boot. Can’t remember getting home that evening, but I do remember the drama that occurred on the evening. This was the beginning of the blackouts. The drama, you ask? Well my dad and my brother got into a fight that near ruined the evening, but all was good in the morning. I somehow got involved in the middle of the fight and ended up being the most hurt, emotionally. Anyway, this was time for my second break from drinking. Stopped for about 4 months this time, and then one day, at a rugby festival in Johannesburg, I decided to get tucked into the booze again… This time guess how I started? Yes you guessed correctly, another bottle of whiskey, a FULL bottle. And so began the beginning of the end. The next two and a half years I deteriorated into a full time drunk.

Let me outline the next two years in bullet form, as we would be here for days should I write it in paragraphs:

• Broke up with my girlfriend of 2 ½ years

• Got involved with a group of friends that drank as hard as I drank

• Went through relationship every two months

• Started ignoring uni

• Started my early daytime drinking, before 09h00 basically

• Starting blacking out on a regular occurrence

• Dabbled with soft drugs

• Became rather addicted to painkillers (I managed to get my hands on post operative drugs all the time somehow)

• Started getting a clouded head, my decisions were screwed up

• Then the last few months arrived!

So it was February 2003, my 20th birthday. Got to the pub with my girlfriend at the time and all our mates. I didn’t have a cent on me and I still managed to black out that night! I started off on the Jamesons and ended up on the Stroh Rum. I was offered a lift home, but thought it best if I drove. Blacked out and woke up in the morning with screaming. I thought to myself, shit, what did I do last night? Did I kill someone, is there blood on my car, what the fuck happened! It turns out that I had a minor accident involving, to this day I imagine, a curb. Both the tires on the right side of my car were blown. I couldn’t deal with it on the day however as I was hung-over and by this time in my drinking, my hangovers were debilitating. I got over this hangover and this car accident reasonably quickly.

That night in fact, I was out having a couple of drinks again. The wheels really started falling off after this. I was involved in a major car accident less two weeks later. This car accident left me in ICU for 7 days. This, one would think would be a wake up call from something. But to me I was totally oblivious. The weekend after I got out of hospital, I was back at the same bar I was at the night of my accident having a couple drinks, drugged to the gills on codeine. About a month later I was jetting off to Argentina, a week of blackout and hangover’s. I would not be able to tell you what happened on that week away from South Africa. The few things I do know, I cheated on my girlfriend at the time and I forget the rest. It literally was a week of forgetting about life. I got back and screwed over my best friend (with the girl I cheated with in Argentina). I lied to his face and he has never forgiven me for this. Understandable really.

The next 5 months I cannot recall for the life of me (I blame it primarily on the booze and the head injury secondarily). All I know I the last night I drank it was the only time in those 5 months that I do remember. I ended up at one of the bars in Northern Johannesburg after a heavy day of drinking. I spent more than a thousand Rand on drinks that evening, and I think the bar was well entertained by me… I performed my usual trick and ducked out of the club without anyone noticing… Then the evening is clear. I went off the road and punctured a tire. I was without any tools to fix the tire, and definitely in no state to be changing tires. I managed to get to a garage about 5kms away. I arrived there, and promptly blacked out after saying to myself: “Drive to your brother’s house, it 2 mins away.” Next thing I was home in my flat and had no clue how I had arrived there.

I woke in the morning to a family that would not talk to me, let alone look at me. I finally had hit the bottom for the final time. I had finished bouncing and there was no foreseeable future for me… This was one of many times I had contemplated ended my life. I eventually made the decision to enter the fellowship (Alcoholics Anonymous).

And thus ends the story of my drinking, my short and not so illustrious drinking career. I was 20 years old and I had had enough. I did not know where to go. I was a lost sheep and I was not willing to continue with my life the way I was going.

I maintain to this day, had I not stopped drinking then, I would have been dead before my 21st birthday. My angels were with me, as they are today!

Life is difficult.”

M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled

This is part one of a three-part blog.

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My Story ~ Anon

Written and contributed by Anonymous Author

Here is my story, its not my opinion and it is not to be taken as advice, it is merely what I was like, what happened and what I’m like now. I am going to share my experience, strength and hope with you.

I was an only child raised in an alcoholic home, I had a crappy childhood and it was the perfect excuse to use for getting wasted.

I always said I had a good 11 years of sobriety and then I turned 12.

The first time I drank I wound up in hospital with alcohol intoxication, and that is what my drinking and using was always like for me – chaotic. I drank and used not for fun, but for oblivion, I could not deal with life or myself or school or anything, if I was happy or sad, if something good happened or if something bad happened whatever happened I needed to get loaded and high. It did not happen slowly for me I charged full force into a life filled with fear, abandonment, regret, guilt and a serious need for attention. I craved attention from people so badly I would do anything to get it, sleep with them, lie to them, whatever it took, just to feel wanted even if it was just for an instant.

I completely rebelled against everything and everyone – it was like I was absent the day they handed out books on life – I had no clue and I had no one to teach me.

I was young and filled with fear and hatred for myself. I wanted to be anyone but me and using and drinking gave me that ability. I grew up way to fast – I had seen and done more degrading and despicable things by the time I was 16 years old than most people have done in a lifetime, not to say that I am any more special or my story is worse than yours. When I was 16 I was admitted to rehab for 3 months, I weighed 42kg and was so strung out on crack and heroine, that my first week of detox in rehab was one big blur of shivering, shaking and vomiting. I was fed methadone and valium so I didn’t die from cold turkey. I finished up my stint in rehab and as soon as I got out I was up to no good all over again, I always knew I had a problem, but I didn’t care. I never again touched heroine, but the drinking and using everything else that was available was a norm for me.

I had a part time job and I dropped out of school when I was 17, I partied and some of what I do remember was fun, it wasn’t all bad, but it was completely destructive, every time something was going well or my relationships with others were going well – I would mess it up, no matter how or what, I found a way to destroy anything good in my life.

When I was 18 I got involved in a relationship and it seemed to fill the empty void I always felt that I had, but that too could only last so long until I destroyed that too.

I was unable to be honest about anything to anyone, no matter how close they were to me and no matter how much they cared about me, no one could ever know my secrets, and all I wanted to do was forget and so I did.

More lies and destruction until one day after so many rock bottoms I woke up in my care and looked in the mirror and said to myself this is not a way to live, this is a way to die and in that very moment I knew I wanted to care, I wanted to be “normal” I needed help……

I joined a 12 step program and attended meetings regularly and they always kept telling me if you want what we have then you must be willing to go to any length to get it, but I wasn’t. I kept going to meetings, but I couldn’t stay clean, I lied because it was the only thing I knew how to do, I had no idea what honesty was or how to be honest, I couldn’t even admit to myself who I was or the things I had done, it was too despicable to bare, not that I even knew who I was in the first place.

I did however learn a lot in the fellowship, I learned that I was not actually a bad person; I was just a very sick person. I had an illness, I had a disease it was known as alcoholism / addiction which is a mental obsession coupled with a physical allergy, the obsession being that I could control it, that I could handle just one hit/drink and then once I had the first one, my allergy would kick in and I would be powerless to stop myself. This is known as insanity, doing the same thing and expecting a different result, my result was always the same, everyone else would have fun and say they had had enough and I would end up in Hillbrow (a not so nice area in Johannesburg), wake up in strange places with strange people not knowing what I had done and hating myself even more, the words “I’ve had enough” did not exist in my vocabulary.

I could not live with the drugs and booze anymore but I couldn’t live without them, I could do nothing without a fix, I couldn’t brush my teeth, I couldn’t get out of bed, I couldn’t go to work, I couldn’t have a conversation with another person, I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror. I wanted it all to end; I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.

I managed to start learning how to be honest, but I could never do it completely, only about certain things and I would always have my secrets, sometimes I think I may die with all my secrets never being able to share them.

I have hurt and taken for granted every good person in my life.

I now have a beautiful wife who loves me so much and I her, yet I still manage to deceive her, I still cannot tell her things I have done, but not to deliberately hurt her, but because I thought just one, what could really happen that would be that bad……well one day I woke up after one of those and I had no idea what happened, but I knew that feeling, that horrible feeling in the pit of stomach that I had done something terrible again and I had, I don’t remember and still don’t, but I had too much GHB (sometimes known as the date rape drug) and that is exactly what happened, I probably wasn’t raped because it was more than likely me that provoked the situation and even though I know if I were sober it would never have happened, I violated myself, I allowed myself to get so out of it that something like that could happen to me.

I thought I could pretend that everything was ok, but I couldn’t and I ended up taking more and more and more and by the time my wife came home on the Sunday, I was completely out of it and she knew something was wrong, but I couldn’t tell her and the guilt and the regret was too much.

The next day I went to work, still completely out of it, I was sent home and the next day I was sent for blood tests, thank goodness they came back negative, but it was the start of me losing my job and a few months later I did.

I sat at home wallowing in my self pity, hating myself, feeling useless. I had so many things to pay off and no job, I was about to lose my house, my car, my relationship, my life and then what do I do? Well being the typical addict that I am, I think oh well it can’t get much worse, let me hit the crack pipe again, just a few hits and it will all go away and I can get my mind off things and then start looking for a job after I’ve had my release from reality. Well I managed to ruin my wife’s birthday, I smoked away her birthday present, I smoked away nearly everything I had of value that she wouldn’t notice and then thought right, enough is enough now – pull yourself towards yourself and do what you gotta do to come right.

I admitted what I had done to my wife and she understood and was angry and sad – I had hurt her and betrayed her so badly, but she stood by me. I cleaned myself up, got a great job and started working the program, but I couldn’t be honest, I had manipulated and lied to everyone for so long, what would they think if I came clean now?

So I still live with the shame and the guilt, but slowly I start revealing things to her and she sticks by me, she accepts me with my faults and me defects and my lies and she loves me and I am eternally grateful and blessed to have someone like that in my life.

One day I will be completely honest and I will tell her everything, but for now, baby steps for me, I need to learn how to walk before I can run, I need to learn about myself, who I am, what I want and I do it just for today, I can’t worry about tomorrow or I will use, I can’t regret yesterday or I will use, I am happy with who and what I am today and just for today I am clean and sober.

I hope this helps anyone who thinks that what they have done can never be forgiven, as long as you can forgive yourself and accept what has happened to you and take responsibility for your actions, then there is hope. I have also learned that I cannot do it alone, I may not need another person to help me, but I need a belief in a power greater than myself, I am not talking religion, I am talking about a spiritual belief (a higher self so to say) and it is the connection I have with this higher power of mine and the will and the want to live that I am alive and happy today.

It is not all roses and nothing is simple and sometimes there are days when I don’t think I can go on, but I do, even if it is just for another hour or minute, I put one foot in front of the other and I ask my higher power for help.

I say the serenity prayer over and over and I will leave you with these words:

Grant me the serenity

To accept the things I cannot change

Courage to change the things I can

And wisdom to know the difference.

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