Marina’s Story

I picked up a drink at 16 years of age, and I remember thinking WOW what is this stuff, it’s like magic. After that I broke all of the rules my parents set. One night I was at basketball and had to be home at 10 pm, but I got home at 12 pm, becasue I was drinking. My parents were worried sick. I woke to a terrific hangover, and my mother said we will not punish you, because you look like you have punished yourself enough. I thought WOW I got away with it.

It was around this age, that I left school and got a job.

I was tall and skinny and a face full of acne. Being tall had it’s advantages, it got me into pubs and clubs, where I could get drunk. I couldn’t wait till the week-ends. Parties, boys, drinking, playing pool & dancing.

I was 18 years of age, when I got into a relationship and he ended up moving into Townsville. 6 months later I followed. It was in Townsville, that I learned to become a bar-maid. When I wasn’t working, I was drinking, it was just what you did. There were lots of fun times, but when I look back now, I was lucky I didn’t kill somebody or myself, drink driving, swimming drunk etc.

Some years and a few relationships later I moved back to Sydney and found employment working in bars. After a while I became the manageress, working 6 days a week, 14 hours a day. It was then that I fell in love with the publican and ended up marrying him. Two months into this relationship I became pregnant, it was the happiest time of my life. I had a beautiful baby girl. I had a water frontage home, a nice car, boat down on the pier, antique furniture, and I remember looking down at my daughter, thinking is this what life is all about?

It was then that my drinking escalated. I lived in fantasy, and those fairy lights were beginning to flicker.

I remember one night sitting on the edge of the bed saying: “ I can’t do this anymore.” It was then that I admitted that I had a problem with alcohol. I was taken to William Booth Institute ran by the Salvation Army. I was told that it was a 12 month program. I just broke down crying saying what about my little girl, and the man who interviewed me said didn’t you put drink and drugs before that little girl. It was here that I had to say yes, I did put drink and drugs before her.

This was in 1988, I detoxed and I stayed for 12 months.

After that I went to a farm through the Bridge Program. I did the 24 hour a day, steps, chapel, cleaned chicken eggs, milked a cows, and an AA meeting once a week. It was here that I did a Steps 4 and 5, though all through that time, I had never read the Big Book. I worked there for 4 years.

In this time I went through Court Cases, and Custody Battles. But lost custody of my beutiful baby girl due to my alcoholism.

After 4 years I moved back to Sydney. I worked, got a little flat, car and did meetings in the inner suburbs of Sydney.

I then decided to do a course. I couldn’t believe it I passed with flying colours. I left working in the Bridge Program, and started working with women and children. Working in this field really effected me, and I had to leave. I got very sick. I slept for 2 weeks, and wasn’t even aware of it.

It was here that my mother placed me in a Mental Institution, and I stayed for 1 month. I was medicated for severe depression. I began to look for doctors who would give me sleepers, and began to abuse them. I was always looking for something outside of me to fix things.

I had 8 years of sobriety when my dad died. Everything around me collapsed. I picked up a drink and things got worse. Within a month I was back to where I started, before entering William Booth. Things began to decline at a drastic rate. I did things that I didn’t do before, and worse.

I needed alcohol.

I remember one New Years Eve sitting on my backdoor step, and I thought I haven’t got a friend in the world, so I decided to go to church.

I was an hour early, and there was a club next door, so I thought I will go there to kill an hour, to have something to eat. As you would guess, I didn’t make it to church, and it was here that I met my next boyfriend.

He drank just like I did. I stayed in this relationship for 9 years. The bills were not getting paid, there was never enough food in the fridge, though I always knew how to get a cask of wine. The fights were getting more frequent, and now the physical abuse was happening, and on numerous occasions I would physically attack him. The police were beginning called, taking me away. My spirit began to get smaller and smaller, and the degredation, I couldn’t believe.

I had found escape in the bottle, but it had stopped working, I needed more.

We moved to the country, and things were ok for a while, though it all starting again, and very quickly. I needed 2 casks of wine a day at this stage.

It was Christmas 2005 in Sydney, when I woke from a night I would never forget, and I believe that this was my turning point, the alcohol wasn’t working anymore.

I was at the point of desperation. I said to my drinking friend, I am going back AA. This was the last time I saw her and the last I had a drink.

It was a Thursday night and I looked up a meeting. I don’t remember much, all I could do was cry, and pray to God to get me home. I said to my partner, if you do not give up alcohol we have to split. We both went to the next meeting the following week. I then went to the Salvation Army Chapel on the Sunday, and it was then again I could not stop crying. It was here that I spoke to a Salvationist and said that I was an Alcoholic.

Amazingly enough there was a lady there who was also an alcoholic and she took me aside and we talked for about an hour, and we swapped phone numbers, and I was offered a sponsor.

Unfortunately my sponsor died shortly after. For 6 months I did not have a sponsor, but once again a friend from AA and the Chapel put me onto another sponsor.

It was here that I was finally introduced to the “Big Book” the Basic Text of Alcoholics Anonymous.

I sat with my new sponsor once a week at McDonalds, and he would take me through the “Big Book”. I also had to ring him at 7 pm in the evening and he would give me things to read and highlight as to things I would relate to from the basic text.

My partner didn’t like what I was doing. I was beginning to change. It was around this time that I split with my partner and we separated for 2 to 3 weeks. He moved out, and I went back for the wrong reasons. Everything came to an end, and boy I hit a rock bottom quickly.

My mother put me into a mental institution and I was there for 2 weeks.

I then went to women’s refugees in Sydney and thank God we have these places, though I must say it was one of the most frightening times of my life. I come home, to be placed in a mental institution for 3 months.

All I could do was hold onto my medication, while I was being taken away by the police, and I was like a caged tiger pacing back and forward.

It was at this this time I met my new sponsor and my sponsor today. My sponsor would visit me, with her sponsor, and they would take me out. I joined a group in my home town, and I became involved.

My sponsor introduced me to a prayer called “The set aside Prayer”, and asked me what I was willing to do.

I remember that I couldn’t take that much in, but she said I want you to remember this prayer, so I did.

I went to her home when possible, and she took me through the “Big Book”, and we got so far and I got sick again. She did not give up on me and we started agian, this time, there was a real deepening. I believe through the “Grace of God” that I did the most honest and through Step 4 and 5 possible, and it was here that I began to experience God. I had a wonderful spiritual experience making amends to my dad, whom had passed away, and my mother and daughter in whom I had harmed.

Today my mother likes me to come for a visit, and my daughter who is on the other side of the world emails or we Skype. I also now talk to my sister.

Amazingly enough I do 12 step work at the hospital I was once admitted too, once a month.

I have to say that sometimes I don’t know what Gods will is for me, though I do know what it isn’t, and that surrender is the key to happiness.

I have to say that thanks to God, AA, the steps and my sponsor, that I am now trudging the Road to Happy Destiny, and I hope to any new comer who enters the rooms of AA that they join the first promise of Hope of many Thousands of men and women, of unity, recovery and service. One Day at a time!! God Bless!!