Sue’s Story: Facing Step 1

By Sue, Renascent Alumni

Sue - AlumniMy journey to Step 1 began many years ago and resulted in many failures because, I never “admitted that (I) was powerless over alcohol and that (my) life had become unmanageable”.

I could control my drinking. I could get up and go to work in the morning despite the hangovers. I had a house, a car a relationship.  I’m sure many of you know the story.

There had been attempts at sobriety.  White knuckling, no recovery program, no AA.  Two years was my longest period of sobriety.  But hey, after two years, I figured I had it under control and that I could drink in moderation.  Was I wrong! That toboggan ride to the bottom of the hill was a fast one.

It tells us in the Big Book page 31, “In some instances there has been brief recovery, followed always by a still worse relapse”.  How true this is!

My alcoholism got to the point I would have a bottle beside the bed at night so that I could stop the shakes and get back to sleep. Of course, being mindful of what time of the night/morning it was so that I wouldn’t go to work smelling like a distillery.  Oh the self-delusions I harboured.

One evening in January of 2020, I hit a parked car with my truck.  At that point in my drinking career I don’t think I ever had a blood alcohol of “0”.  I knew this was the end of the line and so began my first honest attempt at Step 1.

The negatives of the accident were few the positives are innumerable.

The negatives include being forced to retire from my job and the vehicle insurance was voided due to the impaired driving charge.  I’ve had to pay out thousands of dollars in legal fees and court dates are still pending due to COVID-19 delays in the legal system.

The positives: I did not kill or injure someone and I was not injured.  I’m certain today there was/is a Higher Power that was/is watching over me.  For this I am forever grateful.  Three days after the accident and a cold turkey detox, I attended my first AA meeting.  Five months later I was accepted into Renascent.

I was on the verge of loosing my relationship prior to the accident.  Sobriety has given me the opportunity to make amends to my partner and begin healing our relationship.  My health has improved with no toxic substance entering my body.  I can now sleep and wake up refreshed in the morning.  I have the energy and motivation to do things. I don’t have to waste time and energy hiding my booze then trying to remember where I put it.

In this short time of recovery I’ve gone through the self-loathing, guilt, shame, remorse but now I have the tools and support systems in place to help me deal with these feelings.

By the grace of God I’ve not had a relapse and for now the desire to drink is gone.  Through the programme, I’ve learned that a relapse starts long before picking up the first drink.  Being mindful of feelings of restlessness and irritability so far has taken me down the right road of recovery.  Those tools will be with me forever but I have to make the choice use them.

January is traditionally the month we study and review Step One.  To those that are currently in the Renascent programs I say congratulations, you’ve taken the first and hardest step.  For those that have experienced a relapse, “Keep coming back”.  The tools of the program and the people to support you are right here.

About the Authors

Members of Renascent's alumni community carry the message by sharing their experiences and perspectives on addiction and recovery. To contribute your alumni perspective, please email