It was 5th September 1987, and I was about to get my life back together.
I was preparing myself for an overnight train journey from my home in the North of Scotland to Kent in England.
The plan was to stay at the home of a friend on Sunday 6th September and catch the early train on Monday to Brighton where I had been invited to attend a job interview.
The interview was for a great job in Abu Dhabi with ADNOC, a state owned company. I was to be considered for the position of Marine Superintendent of the ADNOC Dredging Division.
The prospects were exciting and I was told off the record that the job was mine.
But THE one piece of advice I was given from a friend who had my interests at heart I callously ignored.
That piece of advice was "don't drink Dougie". This came from a close friend who had initially put me onto the job.
And guess what?
Yes, you guessed right. I ignored the advice and turned up for the interview as drunk as a skunk.
I shall not go into details, but it took just one drink to get the whole debacle started.
And so, I found myself early afternoon on that sunny Monday in September 1987 sitting on the shingles of Brighton beach, realising that once again I had messed up.
I have some snatches of things like being at a railway station but not much more than that from that Monday afternoon until the evening of Friday 11th September.
It was then that found myself getting out of a taxi at my home, staggering to the door and asking my shocked wife to pay for the cab ride.
The look on my wife's face was one of disbelief.
Here she was, looking at the man she had married who had left this house almost a week before, smartly dressed, sober, fully confident that he would be back here on Tuesday morning (according to DOUGS PLAN), with a new exciting job under his belt.
But now, here was, slouched in his chair, filthy, smelly, light-grey suit ruined, (more like combat fatigues), and to put the cherry on the cake had lost his overnight bag, plus his briefcase and wallet.
Just who are you? She didn't have to say it. That was spoken through her eyes.
June and I had a wonderful relationship. We lived for each other and our love-child, our son.
But once again, trust had been shattered. After all, I now was going to curb my drinking, wasn't I? At least, that is what I had promised – yet again.
And it was now that in desperation I reached out once more to the Alcoholics Anonymous help line.
The next morning, a man came to see me at my home. His name was Billy. He drove a cab for a living. He took me to a meeting at the local psychiatric hospital that evening.
There I met people who to my knowledge I had not met previously. One or two of them have been my friend since that day. And that day was exactly 33 years ago today (12/9/2020)
They were kind and understanding. They encouraged me to listen and to learn. They genuinely wanted to help me. But I was suspicious. Why would they want to help me? What did they want in return?
I was unsure but had no choice. I had realised that alcohol no longer did what it had always done for me in the past. It had stopped working. I was experiencing levels of fear that I had never before experienced.
But, the next day I went to a meeting at the Barn Church in Culloden.
I have been going to meetings regularly since then, both here in Scotland, UK, USA, Canada, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, etc etc. Wherever I go I make sure I am connected to like-minded people - those with a desire to stop drinking (and to stay stopped).
As I mentioned I've not had any alcohol in my system since that day Billy took me to the first meeting in my recovery on 12th September 1987. This date for me is one of the most important in my life because it opened up a brand new way of living (for me that is).
Credit for this does not go to myself but entirely to AA and the power behind it. And I also thank my June for supporting me in my journey. Our love has grown even stronger over the years in sobriety.
And all I have done is to follow the suggestions outlined in the recovery programme.
I was told early on that the recovery programme is not merely an academic exercise.
My own recovery depends upon the maintenance of my spiritual condition and my willingness to continue with the ACTIONS required.
That is why I am so grateful to AA to provide me with clear and effective means of living my life contentedly.
Alcohol played a part in my life and in fact led me to a far better way of life than I could ever have imagined.
Thanks for allowing me to share this with you…………………..Doug……………..12 September 2020.