AA Help 2023

Never Give Up… A Personal Journey

By Richard Kolcz

My name is Richard Kolcz, and I’m an alcoholic. I grew up with alcohol in the household, and as a child, promised myself that I would never become a drunk. I was wrong. By the age of 14, I was drinking every weekend. Despite being a “weekend warrior,” I managed to get good grades, and I had a loving family. I had also started dating my high school crush.

At 19 years old, I moved to Calgary. There, drinking became more often. I managed to keep my employment, however arguments with others became more often. Looking back at the life and the opportunities that I had, I see that booze became more important, and that it slowly took over. I was never physically abusive, but I became verbally abusive to my girlfriend, who is my first love and was my best friend. In 2000, we got pregnant, and decided to move back home, to Sudbury, Ontario. My precious daughter was born in 2001, and I had never seen anything so beautiful. In 2002, I decided to go to school out of town, and that was the start to the end. I had still great grades, but my drinking had become heavier and more often. I graduated in 2004, but by then my relationship was ruined, which was difficult for me. My girlfriend and I tried to work things out for years, but it was no use. Booze had become my best friend, and had taken over. By 2007, I had lost my girlfriend, but my daughter remained in my life.

In 2010, I went to Timmins, Ontario for treatment, and then I moved to Sault Sainte Marie, Ontario for after care. I was kicked out after a month, and I started living on the streets. The next drink was never far away. I was drinking every day and sleeping in the bush, or on couches.

Then I started going to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings. I got an AA sponsor, I started listening, and I started doing the work addressing my addiction issues. One day in 2013, I had come home to celebrate with my daughter, when I received news that my AA sponsor died in a motorcycle accident – on my birthday. At that time, I had zero months sober, and after I hung up the phone, I drank eight beers in no time. The bottle was back.

I returned to Sault Saint Maire for a funeral, however, I did not make it to that funeral. I do not remember the ride back, and I woke up in a motel five days later, with no idea how I got there. I spent another year in the Sault before moving home to Sudbury, Ontario.

By 2015, I had lost my daughter and I was unhoused again, living on the streets or sleeping on couches. The people at AA never judged me, and I stayed with them. I had my last drink on Christmas of 2017. I was admitted to hospital on Christmas eve, and I drank twelve beer in the hospital that night. I did not realize it was Christmas, until a doctor woke me up to talk at 7am. By that point, I had nearly drank myself to death 20 times in 4 years.

Something happened that day. It was the miracle I read and heard about. I lost the urge to drink. I know that someone is looking out for me. I am not religious, and I never thought the miracle would happen to me on Christmas day.

I have not had a drink since. At Christmas of 2022, I will have five years of sobriety. I attend AA meetings to this day. And yes, I’ve thought of booze and of drinking, and maybe that will always happen. But there will always be AA.

I have learned over 20 years in AA, that you never quit. I learned to talk to people if I need help. Do not dwell on the past, since that is gone now. Do not worry about the future, since it is not here yet. I learned in AA that today is all that we have. Yesterday is history, and tomorrow is a mystery.

So, to all the struggling alcoholics – never give up. It gets better one day at a time. Take it one second at a time if that’s what you need to do. You will start getting your life back. I have a healthy relationship with my daughter now, as well as with her mom and new husband.

Life is a rocky road. As alcoholics, we can trust that the rough road will always smooth out, as long as we stay sober.

God bless you all. Rickard K.

To find a meeting near you, see www.aa.org/find-aa

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