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|Friday, November 28th, 2008|
i'm nineteen and i think i'm an alcoholic. i need alcohol to sleep at night, i drink every night, and on weekends i black out about 90% of the time. i'm not even legal to buy alcohol yet, and i really think i have a problem.( i don't want to trgger anyone..Collapse )
|Tuesday, November 25th, 2008|
I'm new here as well. I just wanted some support from people who also suffer from this disease. I'm not particularly inclined to go to AA meetings, as the emphasis on religion makes me uncomfortable.
|Monday, December 10th, 2007|
Hi all. Been of alcohol for 3 days now, been of drugs for almost 10 years. I hate the fact that Im an addict. I get sooo fucking tired of it. Being bipolar doesnt help either.
Anyway..... just wanted to say hi, and hopefully get some kind of positive feedback from y'all.
Mark Current Mood: bitchy
|Monday, November 19th, 2007|
5 Years Today. Current Mood: sad
I won't make 6. Maybe next time.
Yes I should be happy and proud. I'm not. I simply feel disgusted to be honest.
x-posted to my journal.
|Tuesday, October 9th, 2007|
i thought i would introduce my self, my name is tara bird i am in recovery from alcoholism and i just celebrate 18 months clean yesterday i go to meetings weekly ands if any one wants to know anything about me just ask.
Tara Current Mood: happy
|Saturday, September 1st, 2007|
1 Week sober
Today marks my seventh day of sobriety.
This weekend will be tough. Plenty of free time on my hands, plenty of time for boredom. I have to stay busy and focused.
|Sunday, August 26th, 2007|
First day of sobriety
Today marks my first day of sobriety. It wasn't easy! Yesterday I was bored, so I almost went out and got some beer. Then at night, I got pizza for dinner, and I was so tempted to have some wine with it. This morning I am glad I didn't though. It feels so good to not be hung over. It feels so good to not wake up dehydrated. I am so glad I am sober today. I hope I can keep it up. Current Mood: pleased
|Monday, May 28th, 2007|
Religious Issues With AA
I just got back from another AA meeting here where I am still living. It was studying the chapter to the agnostics and atheists. I have alot of issues there mainly the biggest issue being that book was written by a Christian. Several people at the meeting talked about how a God of their understanding was a saving grace rather than one being defined and handed over to one and one must accept that definition like with Christianity. Some people seem to assume that you are either agnostic or atheist or Christian. Some people are spiritual people without a religion. I am atheist when it comes to a Christian God most definately but otherwise not agnostic nor atheist. It may have been more helpful if Christian prayers like the Lords Prayer and the Prayer of St Francis were left out of AA being that this is not a religious organization or not supposed to be. I do not mind the Serenity Prayer but I will not say the Lord's Prayer. It would have been easier reading for me if it was Buddhist or Pagan obviously if they are going to add some form of religion to it like they did. Alot of my problems with Spirituality and ending up being a drunk have a source in Christianity. They ruined God for me for a long time. Christianity left me Spiritually bankrupt and alcohol sealed it. I am just now getting a baring about a God of my understanding that I think should not be defined. I am daily working Steps 3 and 11. I am going to start Steps 4 and 10 soon. Other books outside of the big book on sobriety have really helped me understand the big book much better. It's helpful to see other points of views. I recommend the book "The Thinking Person's Guide To Sobriety" by Bert Pluymen.
Yesterday, The AA meeting I went to was on the 11th Step:
"Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out."
I thought that this is what I have been working on doing with Step 3 (which is the one that I actually need to do every day which is the same as Step 11):
"Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him"
In the meeting we read the entirety of Step 11 in the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions book then people talked. Alot of people there had alot of issues when dealing with the God thing. One guy said that he angled his beliefs on the religious beliefs of the people who said them, like the prayer of St Francis when he should angle his beliefs on what was said regardless of it's source. I thought that was a profoundly different way to perceive some "Christian" things. He does what I do. I see this stuff about God and the expression I get on my face is one of dire nausia but it is because of the source and I should not let people ruin or run my beliefs on Spirituality. I generally get put off by all things "Christian" rather it is something that would be profound and move me further along Spiritually or not. I should not filter things based on what "religion" it is coming from.
I also started giving alot of thought to the other Steps to see what other ones I have actually worked or have been working. I have actually always practiced Steps 8 and 9. Those steps have always been part of my overall lifestyle.
Step 8: "Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all."
Step 9: "Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others."
So, I have known deeply Step 1 for some time and continued to drink having resigned myself to powerlessness and unmanageability of life:
"We admitted we were powerless over alcohol--that our lives had become unmanageable."
Step 2, ("Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.") My sponsor said that he believed that a Higher Power could restore him to sanity but did not believe for a long while that IT would. I thought about that and over the past few weeks regardless of whether I have believed in God or not, not drinking restores one to sanity. In any case, I believe that Something bigger than me can restore me to a much better life.
I have been practicing Steps 3 and 11 every day now and I have always practiced Steps 8 and 9. Steps 1, 8 and 9 are the easiest for me. It's the personal inventory (Steps 4 and 10 which is mostly going to be about my resentments towards alot of people) that is more difficult and seeing other people in the program and otherwise not practicing Steps 8 and 9 in their general lifes which I obviously notice when I am the one that harm was done to and that is usually the way it works. I never have an issue with saying that I am wrong, or I am sorry and making things up to people but most other people do not seem to be strong enough to readily admit to the things that I admit to. Steps 5, 6, and 7, 11 and 12 are going to be extremely easy and Steps 8 and 9 I have already done.
|Friday, April 27th, 2007|
BIG SIGN: NO MATTER WHAT, I CANNOT DRINK, NO MATTER WHAT
I went to a really great AA Beginner's meeting with my sponsor there this evening. Everyone had such deep things to say and they were talking about how the program had really changed their life to such happiness. I was sold! I talked to my sponsor at great length after the meeting about where I am in the program after having gone back out this last time. I actually do however feel that I have been sober for far longer than 5 days. He said "Well you don't unlearn what you have already learned so you are not starting from the beginning." He did however think that we should move back into Step 1. I explained that I am past that but have alot of trouble with the "God" part about Step 2. He reinterated that this "thing" bigger than ourselves does not have to be "God". He also said that I am still at an evaluation stage about the program. I always evaluate everything extensively. (another thing that my therapist and I discussed today is my need for perfection but that's another entry) I still however feel like I am on Step 4. I feel like I am on Step 2 and Step 4. I have already made a decision to work the program stated in Step 3 but I am still unsure it will work. I do know this. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES, NO MATTER WHAT, I CANNOT DRINK, NO MATTER WHAT. This should be written all over everything. When I get an apartment, it will be posters on the walls. The other thing that he said was that he wanted me to be totally honest with him about what I think. I don't think they are full of shit but I cannot figure out how the program works for these people. He has been round and round with the fuck you all, you are brainwashed with other sponsees and has the patience of a saint, let me tell you. I told him that I feel a distance from the program and he said that I am still evaluating it. I told him that I am scared and he said that I am going to be okay and it is okay to be where I am. Moving slowly. Some people I understand do not even reach Step 4 for years. In any case, the assignment my sponsor gave me was to read the large paragraph on page 53 of The 12 By 12 and discuss what I think of it:
"But it is from our twisted relations with family, friends, and society at large that many of us have suffered the most. We have been especially stupid and stubborn about them. The primary fact that we fail to realize is our total inability to form a true partnership with another human being. Our egomania digs two disatrous pitfalls. Either we insist on dominating the people we know, or we depend upon them far too much. If we lean to heavily on people, they will sooner or later fail us, for they are human too and cannot possibly meet our incessant demands. In this way, our insecurity grows and festers. When we habitually try to manipulate others to our own willful desires, they revolt and resist us heavily. Then we develop hurt feelings, a sense of persecution, and a desire to retaliate. As we redouble our efforts at control and continue to fail, our suffering becomes acute and constant. We have not once sought to be one of the family, to be a friend among friends, to be a worker among workers, to be a useful member of society. Always we tried to struggle to the top of the heap, or to hide underneath it (like me). This self-centered behavior blocked a partnership relation with anyone of those about us. Of true brotherhood we had small comprehension."
Well, I think it definately describes the isolation of alcoholics and addicts like me. I am not able to form real partnerships with people whom I tend to hide from. In what ways I am controlling and domineering, I am unsure of. I have never sought to be one of a group. I have always had a problem with conformity. I know I must be egotistical in a self-pitying way, superior in an inferior way because often times I look at my humility as being superior. I know I am real insecure. I think there are alot of things about me that I cannot see. It was pointed out to me that I apologize too much because I have an extreme need for approval. I am constantly seeking approval from others just to live and be. I have zero self-esteem. Not a low self-esteem, but none. Do I manipulate? I am sure I do but I do not know in what way. If someone could show me insight into my life about how the above paragraph applies in depth to my life, it would be helpful.
|Monday, April 16th, 2007|
2 Weeks Sober!
Today I have 2 weeks sober!
Pain is indeed a great motivator. It has been for me. I am so tired of the feeling like I stuck my finger in a light socket. Alcohol fucks up my nervous system so badly. The things is remembering how bad the pain was and continuing to appreciate the small things which can get hard when sobriety becomes unbareable. A guy was talking last night in an AA meeting about how he reached the point where he was going to blow his brains out drinking and he told his brother "Take me and do with me what you will because I swear to God, next week I will not remember how I feel *right now*!" He talked about how when those wretched times happen, it is like there is a chalk board with all the reasons on it to get sober but then when things are better next week, the chalk board reasons are replaced by reasons to get drunk. I have so been there. I had it planned to shoot myself in the head several times, each time forgetting how much excruciating pain I was in during those times. I always get so bored with life and things and everything and I just loved the shoot up to the stars feeling of drinking. It was the best magical heaven and worst wretched hell feelings ever. Right now I am just taking it day by day as well and enjoying the things I like like talking to people on the internet and listening to music. I'm still pretty fucked up in the head and withdrawn I guess but I now have two weeks and am going to AA meetings everyday. I have two sponsors now.
The key points I got from recent meetings are:
Always keep in mind the horrible feelings and consequences I felt when drinking
Keep in contact with a Higher Power every day
Find happiness on the inside rather than searching outside oneself
|Thursday, April 12th, 2007|
AA Meeting Today On Fear
The topic of the AA meeting this evening was on fear and it was a good one. The whole lot of us all scared to death and just wanting to escape ourselves. I went back and forth about whether or not I was going to say anything because I was so afraid and deciding I was not going to helped me relax until someone called my name and then I decided that I would. I talked about how I was afraid to talk in the meeting. I talked about how I am afraid of people and everything, just plain everything. I have very distorted views about people that I did not used to have. Distorted in terms of them all being a bunch of assholes out to hurt me. I cannot tell the reality from my delusions. I distrust people and letting any anywhere near me. I talked about my fear of extremely painful emotions sober. I had reached a point in Seattle where drinking caused me so much anxiety and fear and being sober caused me so much anxiety and fear that I was literally trapped like a rat in a drug experimentation cage. My anxiety (and panic attacks) were so bad I could not clean anything. I could not cook. I could not drive. I couldn't even go outside. This was when I was hospitalized. I had had a total mental breakdown. I had to be totally drugged up on anti-psychotics to get on the plane to Oklahoma (where family is) before I killed myself. I just wanted the hell away from myself because I have been so scared of feeling myself and the constant anxiety that I feel. One guy talked after me that had been afraid to talk and referred to me and started talking about all the horrible stuff going on in his life and how the only thing he had to look forward to was surgery on his hand because of the anesthetic and I could relate to that. Just last night, I was in so much emotional pain that it was physically unbareable. It felt like someone was ripping my heart out literally and there is no longer any escape. Being alive can be so constantly painful that one just wants out in anyway they can find but I found that drinking or getting high was just a perpetual way back in because the fear and anxiety would become amplified when the drinks were gone and the pot was smoked, not to mention how emotionally painful and negative the drinking and drugging trip outs had become.
|Monday, April 9th, 2007|
I brought myself from Seattle down to Oklahoma to my family because I knew that the circumstances that I would put myself in would help prevent me from isolating and using. If I cannot control myself then someone has to so I took my sorry ass somewhere where people would not allow me to be trying to kill myself. My drinking myself into the hospital and coming back home was an unconscious attempt to arrest this.
I was at a loss up there even more so than here because I am so powerless over alcohol and marijuana (Mary is my drug of choice and not as brutal as Bud). I have absolutely no control over it and the more I try to control it, the worse it becomes. I can't. It is not possible. Trying to do it this way or that way leads back to the same insanity. I went out with my sponsor (I call him every morning and every afternoon now and see him for a half hour before meetings everyday) to a restaurant yesterday to discuss step 4 with my list of resentments and who I am angry at and why. It's very long and I am not finished.
I really came to grasp step 3 on my last drunk. "Behind The Wheel" by Depeche Mode really plowed in my just giving up the driver's seat and reliquishing my control attempts that never work. Depeche Mode seem to have some sort of grasp of 12 Step programs I think.
My sponsor's psychiatrist friend who was in an alcoholic coma in the hospital is awake and talking now but my sponsor does not think that he will ever stop drinking still because this is the third time this has happened. It's sad. My sponsor is a very caring person and cares alot about me. I really admire him for hanging in there and being so tolerant and supportive with people who relapse like I have done recently and he just keeps holding me closer. I hope someday I can be that admirable. I think they (AA) could probably love me until I love myself. I'm hoping.
We discussed my marijuana drug of choice and alcohol patterns more today. The weed in Seattle is skunk trip purple weed that will make you beyond delusional and then combined with alcohol, one may as well be doing acid or mushrooms (it may have been laced) and it was my main focus. I was only working a job to get by and use. My main purpose was to use. My sponsor says I have alot more skills than the customer service line of work that I have been in but my main focus has been using.
I also talked to my sister yesterday about her alcoholism (also a pothead). She has been one for 16 years. I gave her the 12 question test (she failed) and then I asked her if she could stop drinking for two weeks and she said "no". She also agreed that her life would be better if she would stop but she does not want to. I told her that if she is not ready to there is not alot that I can say. She just gets by and works to drink. Lives to drink. She thinks that she just does it because she wants to. I used to say that until I have been so miserable doing it and still could not stop. I told her that things may have to get much worse before she has a desire to stop and that her black outs are extremely dangerous. People die that way all the time. I did put AA in her mind though which no one ever did for me until last year, after 10 years of drinking. No one told me or introduced me to AA literature or anything. I was clueless that I was an alcoholic or why I was so miserable. I think that alot of alcoholics would start changing or at least progressing towards the end of the line faster if someone at least gives them a fair chance to be educated on what they are. I hit bottom faster and harder because I knew I was alcoholic. I became consciously aware of what I am, then was sober for 5 months but without AA except just a few meetings (because I was so petrified of the giant meetings in Seattle and had no sponsor) and then relapsed into the extreme pit. I feel that my relapse of the extreme abyss pit was created by a conscious awareness that I am alcoholic. The whole thing came down like "The Tower" tarot card as if my unconscious was out to destroy all hopes that I would EVER be happy drinking. I went into the hospital and then came out still drinking and then came from Seattle back to Oklahoma but always aware that it's over. I'm done for. Alcohol was my Master. The cards fell and I lost.
But, as long as I have a program where someone else controls this and I do not have a choice to drink or use, then I think I have a good shot. I no longer have any other option, I have given my parents control over all my money to prevent me from going back out and I have given my sponsor control over my drinking. My sponsor is my own Personal Jesus.
|Friday, March 30th, 2007|
The Twelve Steps in Reverse
1. I stated that I could handle my addictions and was master of my own fate.
2. I firmly believed that I was entirely rational and sane in every aspect.
3. I made a decision to run my own life and be successful in all my undertakings.
4. I made a searching and thorough inventory of my fellow man and found him falling short of my expectations of him.
5. I admitted to no one, including a Higher Power and myself, that there was anything wrong with me.
6. I sought through alcohol and/or drugs to overcome my responsibilities and to escape the realities of life.
7. I got drunk and/or stoned to remove any and all shortcomings.
8. I made a list of all persons who had harmed me, whether imaginary or real, and I swore to get them.
9. I got even whenever possible, except when to do so would injure me.
10. I continued to find fault with the world and the people in it. When I was right, I promptly admitted it; I am never wrong.
11. I sought through conniving and hypocrisy to improve myself materially at the expense of anyone, asking only for the means to get drunk or high and stay that way, to escape reality.
12. After having a complete moral, physical, and financial breakdown, I tried to drag those who were dear to me down to my level, and to practice this reasoning in all of my affairs.
As far as drinking and/or drugging are concerned either you are an alcoholic and/or an addict or you’re not.
If you’re not an alcoholic and/or an addict, you don’t have anything to worry about.
But if you are an alcoholic and/or an addict, then you will have something to worry about. If you don’t do something about your drinking and/or drugging, then you will have two things to worry about. You will either go insane, or you will simply die. If you go insane then you won’t have anything to worry about (though your friends and family will). If you die then you will have two things to worry about (though your friends and family will more than likely be relieved); you will either go to Heaven or to Hell. If you go to Heaven then you won’t have anything to worry about. But if you go to Hell, you will have one big thing to worry about:
Where in Hell can you get a nice cold drink!
|Sunday, March 18th, 2007|
I'm a lesbian and always depend on alcohol to make me feel confident in everthnig I do. Bascially, i'm just looking for people who feel the same.
It does get rather loneyl where I am.
|Saturday, March 17th, 2007|
There is going to be a premier movie about teenage girls and women who binge drink on Lifetime called "The Party Never Stops" at 9pm on Monday, March 26th. I really want to see it.
|Friday, March 16th, 2007|
I went to another AA meeting today at 5:30pm. I just sat and listened to people talk about acceptance. One man talked about how when he confuses expectations with acceptance that he is trying to run the show and being the director of the show he was a terrible alcoholic that wanted everything his way. People use AA as their church in the sense that they can find their higher power to run the show and this higher power has nothing to do with any sort of religious denomination. It's like going to an agnostic church for drunks. AA does not believe in any diety like myself so I can come there and begin to grow and get a greater understanding of a cosmic consciousness more expanded from myself and learn to live in a different way.
I may be getting a job soon in customer service at a company really close to my parent's house so it would be easy for me to get to and from work until I get a car. I think I will be applying soon. I really hope I can get the job. Someone from AA has a cousin that works there that is going to give me a reference.
Anyway, Last night I told my niece and nephew all about the program and learning to live without the self absorption and life wreck obsession of alcohol and to be of service of others. Learning to work through one's faults and give back to the world in a more loving and selfless way is what the program is about.
I felt rather well today though. I enjoyed talking to my friends Kawika and Dava today especially Kawika. We get along really well and talked on the phone for a long time. We can really relate to each other on deep levels. Then I talked to Dava about The Tao and meditation and he discussed stepping outside of mental process' that can put one's life in a negative light and changing those process' through meditation and hypnosis because they function on an automatic and unconscious level. He talks about stepping outside the personality. Anyway, he is a wise old guy. He told me my cats are very happy and that my big guy Mainecoon chases all other cats away and little girl tabby likes to be rubbed really hard and petted alot which was how she was with me. Of course, the big guy I only ever saw with little girl and they have always been on friendly terms. I have even seen him kissing her so I have never seen how he chases and hisses at other male cats like he has been doing and causing some issues there because they also take care of other strays there in the garage
I hated having to leave my cats behind in Seattle for Oklahoma to stay with my family because of the problems I have been having due to drinking and mental health problems.
12 QUESTIONS THAT IDETIFY ALCOHOLICS FROM AA LITERATURE
If 4 or more of these questions are answered "yes" it is affirmative that the person is almost always an alcoholic.
Here were my answers.
1. Have you ever decided to quit drinking for a week or so but that only lasted for a couple of days? YES
2. Do you wish people would mind their own business about your drinking and not tell you what to do? NO. I have wanted someone to intervene about the severity of the situation.
3. Have you ever switched from one kind of drink to another in the hope that that will keep you from getting drunk? YES. From hard liquor to beer or wine.
4. Have you had an eye-opener upon awakening in the past year? YES. I have woken up and started drinking again on many occasions over the past year.
Did you need a drink to stop shaking or to get started? YES. To feel better. I didn't get started on anything. :)
5. Do you envy people who can drink without getting in trouble? NO. I do not normally cause trouble when I am drinking.
6. Have you had problems connected with drinking during the past year? YES. Financial and health.
7. Has your drinking caused trouble at home? YES. My roommate and I would get drunk and argue. My place would become a total mess.
8. Do you ever try to get extra drinks at a party because you do not get enough? YES
9. Do you tell yourself you can stop drinking any time you want to even though you keep getting drunk when you don't mean to? NO. I have known in the past that I could not stop drinking and meant to get drunk.
10. Have you missed days of work or school because of drinking? YES
11. Do you have "blackouts"? YES
12. Have you ever felt that your life would be better if you did not drink? Maybe
|Wednesday, March 14th, 2007|
Day 1 Of My Recovery
I went to an AA meeting just now and it went really well. There were people speaking that were talking directly to me after I talked that could relate to all my issues. The biggest thing for me is that I need to talk and work a program and not just bottle things up that come out in terrible ways when I am drinking. I talked about my depression, dual diagnosis and hospitalization. I talked about how I am a problem drinker and get real mean when I am loaded and ripped and how I drink to black out and poison myself and am sick for days and how I mess up my medication. I talked about how when I got to feeling better on the meds and sober, I thought that I could drink again and someone else talked about how he had a friend that could not connect that all his problems went back and started out as having a few beers here and there maybe once a month and the next thing you know tragedy struck. I could relate to that. The whole thing that happened in Seattle was me just wanting to have a few beers, the next thing I knew I had been drunk for 5 days, had gone off my anti-depressants which were imparative and was in the emergency room and then the hospital totally off the deep end. Sooner or later there is no stopping after a few beers and then there is no stopping at all. It always happens every time. One little tiny cup of beer or one shot of alcohol and I am off running. I have known for a long time that I am an alcoholic and cannot control my drinking. I had reached a point last year where I had gotten all the way to step three when a spiritual thing had happened with me and I was sober for 5 months. I meditated and prayed and had turned the whole thing over to my personal higher power. The thing that really set me off again was that job. My anxiety levels had reached astronomical levels and what do I do for anxiety? I drink. That has been my anxiety medication for years since my early twenties, helping short term ruining my life long term.
Some peope offered me some inpatient places that I might go to but I am going to try to go to a meeting everyday and go into this outpatient program here as well and try it outpatient really seriously for awhile. I am going to be under an extreme amount of anxiety chemically. Luckily I have anxiety medication and will be seeing my psychiatrist next week. All this will be free. I am very lucky to at least have those meds because I start shaking and my breathing gets pressured and I cannot relax and then I start going for the drink and the next thing you know I am off the deep end on live journal.
I am going to see about this 90 meetings in 90 days thing. The meetings are really close to me and some are open where I can bring friends and family. My family will take me up there to them and come and get me.
|Friday, January 12th, 2007|
Hi I am a 28 yr old wife a US Marine. I have recently decided after getting my 2nd DWI that I want to change and will be going to rehab this sunday.
I am the product of 2 alcoholics. Mom is way worse than Dad but that is another story. Also my oldest sister is very bad but again that is another story.
I have been drinking since I was 12 years and up until about 3 years ago I never really gave a damn who I hurt or if I hurt myself because of my drinking. But slowly I began to want to stop after losing a frienship but I never really could stop permantley.
Well I still can't stop on my own but the desire is finally here. I am now married, have 2 amazing dogs, who I love more than anything. I am back in school going for my degree and I simply want to be part of the solution now instead of part of the problem.
Another huge deciding factor resulting in me checking myself into rehab is the fact that my husbands second deployment to Iraq is in a couple of months and I want to survive this one in totally different way than I did the last. It was the hardest thing I have ever been through and I simply cant go through it the same way again.
My husband is my hero and I want to be his hero. I want to get sober and stay that way. I am hoping to find the support I need in this community that I will need inorder to acheive to my goal.
|Monday, September 18th, 2006|
Wow! Ann Richards
Former Gov. Ann Richards of Texas will be remembered for her wit, her one-liners and especially for the keynote speech at the 1988 Democratic Convention, which was, in retrospect, the high point in the party’s dismal campaign for the presidency that year. To intrigued television viewers nationwide, Ms. Richards, with her big hair and big attitude, epitomized the kind of formidable woman that is a hallmark of the Lone Star State . People liked her down-home phrases. When she said, “We’re gonna tell how the cow ate the cabbage,” they believed her. She leavened a plain-spoken manner with wisecracks. Both helped elect her governor two years later.
But her political career eclipsed what Ms. Richards called “one of the great, great stories” of her life: her recovery from alcoholism and her nearly 26 years of sobriety. That triumph deserves to be more than a line in her obituary.
In so many ways, her decision to stop drinking and enter a rehabilitation program in 1980, after a painful intervention by family and friends, was necessary for her continued rise in public life. What made Ms. Richards different was her decision to be forthright about the fact that she was a recovering alcoholic. She didn’t hide it. “I like to tell people that alcoholism is one of my strengths,” she said. She was right. Alcoholics know that seeds of healthy recovery grow from the need to mend their own flaws to stay sober, one day at a time. Ms. Richards faced her imperfections fearlessly, and that enabled others to be fearless, too, if only for a little while.
She never stopped helping people. One well-known author said the first mail she received after enrolling in a rehabilitation program was an encouraging letter from Ms. Richards. A politician who left rehab and wondered how on earth he was going to avoid drinking when he got home well after midnight found Ms. Richards waiting for him when he arrived. As governor, she started treatment programs in Texas prisons. When she visited, she would tell the inmates the simple truth: “My name’s Ann, and I’m an alcoholic.” Her imperfection had become a source of inspiration for others.
Ann Richards was funny, wise and compassionate. At 73, she died too soon. But she died sober.