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Addiction Recovery Research Center

Fralin Biomedical Research Institute

2 Riverside Circle

Roanoke, VA  24016

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Phone: 540-315-0205

Email: iqrr@vtc.vt.edu

Media Inquiries:

John Pastor, FBRI Director of Communications

Phone: 540-526-2222

Email: jdpastor@vt.edu

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HELEN'S Story 

“I was 47 when I suffered my first heart attack. I knew I had to change the way I was living or I would die. I didn’t go to the doctor. I went to my first AA meeting.

I didn’t drink heavily everyday, but when I did drink I drank to black-out. I wanted Scotty to beam me up and out of here. If I didn’t black out I felt like I wasted a whole lot of time and money. I got to where I couldn’t sleep until I drank a pint of scotch. I got a new boyfriend who had 20 years sobriety in AA, so I hid my booze from him and after he left my place I would pull it out of hiding. He didn’t have a clue… until I couldn’t stand it anymore and I wanted desperately to go have a good, long black out.

That’s when I had my heart attack. It scared the beegeebees out of me. When I went to my first AA meeting I still wasn’t sure I was an alcoholic, but I wanted to find out. They gave me a Big Book and told me to read it, so I did. (Sometimes I do what I’m told.) I read pg 32 where it said something about if you’re not sure you’re an alcoholic try going to a bar several times and see if you can just drink one or two drinks on a regular basis. If you can’t, then you’re an alcoholic. I didn’t have to try that. I already had. I had broke numerous promises over the years by saying I was only going to have a couple of drinks and then leave. I always had every good intention of doing just that, but good intentions fly right out the window after an alcoholic has that first drink. I knew right then and there I was an alcoholic.

I wasn’t too sure I could go the rest of my life without a drink. That took me some getting use to. Even though I grew up in a family that taught me how to have a lot of fun without the aid of alcohol, I suffer from a metabolic disorder besides alcoholism, so I have anxiety problems associated with that. The alcohol helped calm that down and let me rest. I still couldn’t imagine not being able to drink to calm my nerves. But, someone in that first meeting said “Just do the best you can one day at a time.” And that’s what I have done for over 6 years now.

I have been through the death of my brother whom I was close to, the long lingering illness of a boyfriend, two relationship break-ups, ill health myself, and 2 major job losses and I have been able to stay sober through them all with the help of my higher power and by following the 12-steps program that AA offers.

When my anxiety kicks up, I get feeling sorry for myself, or I get feeling like life sucks my sponsor showed me what I have to do. I go to meetings and/or I meditate. It works every time. With the help of my fellow alcoholics we are able to stay sober no matter what.

And life just keeps getting better and better all the time.

I currently have a job that I love writing from home. I have a new, wonderful boyfriend who is 23 years sober. And I have some of the best friends a person could find who love me no matter what, unlike my fair weather friends I had while I was drinking.


Sobriety really is rebirth to a new and better life.”