From the August 2011 magazine.

High-Bottom Drinking

She didn't think she had a problem with alcohol until attending AA helped her problems.

"When I put down my addictive eating behaviors and started working the Steps, my alcohol use escalated."

My drinking history seems pretty mild compared to many stories I have heard and read. Because of this, I struggled with whether or not I was really an alcoholic and belonged in AA. I wanted to share my story to help others like me who may have recognized their drinking problem before it took them down too far. I have found that a dramatic drinking story is not necessarily needed to find comfort and recovery in AA.

I didn't pick up my first drink until I was a sophomore in high school. Though many of my friends had been drinking for years, I was too attached to being a "good girl" and far too judgmental to allow myself to get into it yet. I was raised by a sober, alcoholic father, who cautioned me about the genetic aspect of alcoholism. I was aware of several family members' addictions. My parents divorced when I was very young. As the eldest child, I assumed responsibility for everyone's well-being--including my parent's. My parents shared custody of my sisters and me, so we grew up in two very different homes. I learned to adapt every week, acting one way at dad's, and another at mom's. I did well in school, always had some sort of job, had several friends, and seemed to be doing well all around.

-- M.O.

Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania

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