FOR many people the wines of France are one of the reasons for visiting and living in this wonderful country, writes the Alcoholics Anonymous France South West Intergroup.
But what if the dream starts to be tainted by an uncontrollable desire to drink more and more and you, or somebody you know, find that drinking alcohol is causing a problem?
Nobody likes to be classified as an alcoholic because the image of a down-and-out in a dirty raincoat sitting alone on a park bench, drinking from a bottle wrapped in brown paper is the one that is normally associated with alcoholism.
But it doesn’t have to have reached that stage: broken relationships, lost jobs, financial problems, losing your driving licence, blackouts and periods when you can’t remember what you did the night before, secret drinking and behaviour unacceptable to your friends and relations are all part of the downward spiral.
One of the members of Alcoholics Anonymous writes a cautionary tale, when ignorance is anything but bliss:
There was a time when I enjoyed a glass of wine or two with a meal or at the pub with friends. Then something changed. Due to a life event I discovered that a glass or two or three blocked out what I didn’t want to deal with emotionally, and it worked.
However, things progressed. I did not realise it but somehow along the way I had lost the choice of having a glass or two. That did not do the job and my drinking gradually escalated to the point where it became an absolute necessity to function.
Always having access to a supply became essential and still I did not realise that I had a problem. Of course I could control my drinking, if I really wanted to that is. I always had a strong will. So I tried to stop the downward spiral and to my great surprise I could not.
Fear, panic, self condemnation and loss of self-respect followed. Living both with and without my daily medication became a living hell.
What I had not realised was that I had an allergy to alcohol which condemned me to obsessively consume it, a progressive illness in fact.
However I did find the help I needed through the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. With their help I am now happy and sober because I accepted that for me alcohol is lethal.
If my story raises any doubts for you, or rings any alarm bells then get in touch with AA. You will not be judged because they know how hard it is to come to terms with the problem as they have all experienced it themselves.
Our websites are listed below and give details of most of the meetings conducted in English. Just turn up at one. You will be made most welcome.
The websites also give the contact e-mail addresses for each meeting. The telephone numbers listed on the websites might be private ones so you may need to try more than once – but don’t give up.
You have absolutely nothing to lose and a life with choices to regain, I promise you.
Related: Alcoholics Anonymous in France there for 'dangerous' Christmas period
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