A New Beginning …

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Little did I know in 1989, at the age of 56, that I was about to enter upon the most challenging years of my life. My husband had been ill for many years and we knew that it was unlikely that he would last much longer. Not realizing that I was doing so I had relied more and more on alcohol to deaden my feelings. I had no idea that it was a problem until my family lovingly held an intervention and begged me to seek help, which I did.

The reason I write about this now is that alcohol (or, for that matter, drugs of any type) can so readily affect us in the older generation before we realize it is happening. So many of us have been widowed or we move to a new location or our children seem to have abandoned us. It is so easy to pick up that 2nd or 3rd glass of wine or cocktail. We need it “to get to sleep” or to “take the edge off”, but it often escalates before we realize it is happening.

I have been sober now for over 24 years and what a whirlwind it has been. The rooms of AA are filled with exciting personalities and I’ve noticed that more and more seniors are joining us late in life. As it says in our Traditions “The ONLY requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking”. That certainly opens the door wide for many of us.

About a year ago I received a phone call from a man who wanted to talk about his wife’s drinking. She is in her mid-sixties and had crashed their car and received a DUI. He knew I was in AA and that the judicial system looks kindly upon people who try to turn their lives around by attending meetings. We had a very frank discussion and I asked if he thought his wife was an alcoholic? He said he had no idea but promised to get her to meetings if I would meet her there and I agreed.

Of course she was shy at first but we quickly put her at ease. She openly admitted that she was there to get the law off her back but an interesting thing happened. She found that she loved the meetings. Her court case has come and gone and she’s barely mentioned it. She looks so much healthier now and is a “regular” at 3 meetings a week. “AA and all of you have saved my life as well as my marriage” she told us this week. I know exactly how she feels.

If any of you out there have any misgivings about your alcohol consumption contact your local AA. You will never be alone again and the friendships you acquire will amaze you and will last for the rest of your life.

* Photo courtesy of my friend Ellen of the blog “Growing Gills”

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