Alice's story

[The following is a transcript of Alice's story, read for her by a presenter on Radio Guernsey, 2 April 2013.]

"I didn't drink till I was 18. I knew it wasn't right from the beginning. One drink was never enough. I would hide drink in the wardrobe. It was progressive.

"In the end I just drank to live, yet it was killing me."

Eventually I drank every day. Not to the point of falling over but I needed drink inside me to function. I knew I had a problem but couldn't admit it. I felt shame and was too proud.

I drank when I was happy, when I was sad, any excuse — I drank. In the end I just drank to live, yet it was killing me.

I felt inadequate as a mother, knew I was a danger on the roads, work suspended me twice but still I couldn't stop.

Alcohol had become my best friend but had robbed me of any self-worth or dignity. I felt I was a bad person and couldn't talk to anyone about it.

Eventually I realised I could not be without alcohol. I needed it to function.

I was in the kitchen one evening and was so unhappy with the alcohol but knew I couldn't be without it. I felt desperate. Shortly after that I was suspended from work again and told I would never work if I couldn't be without alcohol. That was my rock bottom. I knew I had to do something.

I became honest, admitted I was an alcoholic, and I have never looked back.

I have been sober for 17 years and it was the best thing I ever did.

I went into treatment and met people who had my problem. I was not alone. Alcohol can take anyone. Rich, poor, tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor, doctor, lawyer, clergy. We all have the same problem. We can't take alcohol but that's all we can't do.

It's an illness. I firmly believe I was born an alcoholic and the first drink watered the disease and it took me 25 years to get honest and admit it. I was too ashamed.

"Sobriety has given me dignity, self-worth, and freedom of choice."

Today I live in the solution. I deal with my illness a day at a time, I don't pick up that first drink and I go to A.A. I can't do it alone, I need others. I used alcohol to live. Today I live a contented happy life by going to A.A. and working the programme of the 12 steps. It's not a religious group or cult. It's normal everyday people who have the same problem and want to stay well. We share our experiences, strength and hope and stay away from that first drink. If you had diabetes you would take medicine and get help. My medicine is A.A. The only thing I can't do today is take that first drink but WOW I can do so much more than I could do when I was drinking. I am free from the bondage of alcohol that ruled and ruined my life.

I'm a grateful, recovering alcoholic. I love my sobriety. I have been given the gift of sobriety and NOBODY can take it away. Only I can give it away and one day at a time I don't intend to do that. Sobriety has given me dignity, self-worth, and freedom of choice."