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Drinking and How It Changed My Life: Ann Dowsett-Johnston (Transcript)

My life in sobriety has been rocky. It’s a brand-new life now, but it wasn’t always so.

When I was 18 months sober, I got a call I dreaded, a call I never ever wanted to get. The man I was to marry and the man I was in love with for 14 years picked up the phone and told me it was over, in a morning, and I’ve never seen him again.

And I was full of despair, and I didn’t drink, and I couldn’t drink.

And I picked up the phone to my son about a week later, and I said, “I’ve lost everything to sobriety, absolutely everything. My life is terrible.”

And he said, “Really?” There’s my brave son. He said, “Go get a piece of paper, Mom. I’m going to dictate this to you.”

He said, “Draw a line down the middle, Mom. On the one side write ‘Losses.’ Write his name, Mom. You loved him very much. And yes, he was great to you. And then he wasn’t, Mom, not in the end.

Okay, on the other side, Mom, I want you to write ‘Gains.’ I want you to write your sister’s name — you got her back. I want you to write your brother’s name — you got him back. I want you to write your mom’s name — you got her back. I want you to write every single friend, Mom. Are you writing?”

I was writing.

He said, “You got me back, Mom.”

I said, “I didn’t lose you.”

He said, “Oh, yes, you did, Mom.

You lost me. Things were really, really strained between us, don’t you remember? We didn’t even talk for four months.”

I wrote down his name. Then he said something I won’t forget. He said, “Mom, you’re a fabulous mom. I wanted to go to art school, and you supported me. Write that down, Mom.”

I wrote it down.

He said, “You got your writing back, Mom. You got your voice back. You got everything back, Mom. Have a look at that list, Mom. So you lost a guy. Have a look at the other side.”

Thank you.

 

Download This Post as PDF here: Drinking and How It Changed My Life_ Ann Dowsett-Johnston (Transcript)

 

Resources for Further Reading: 

Claudia Christian: How I Overcame Alcoholism at TEDxLondonBusinessSchool (Transcript)

Gray Area Drinking: Jolene Park at TEDxCrestmoorParkWomen (Transcript)

Girl Up: The Secrets to an Extraordinary Life: Courtney Ferrell (Transcript)

Sometimes You Need to Change Yourself to Be Yourself: Mindy Gibbins-Klein (Transcript)

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