I first scared myself in March 2012, when, having read an article about alcohol problems in the paper, I sat down and worked out that I was drinking between 2.5 and 5 times the recommended limit per week, and rarely having a day off the booze. But I decided that I could moderate, and drink only at weekends, and see how it went. I was still in denial.
It worked for a while, then I drifted back to my accustomed habit of between half a bottle and a bottle of wine most days. In January 2013, I again tried to moderate - this time I was only going to drink "outside the house." But that didn't work either. I still hadn't realised that moderation only works for people who don't have any kind of emotional dependency.
Then in July 2013, push came to shove. I got pissed in front of people whose good opinion I respected, and the fact that they had been amused by my slurring speech somehow made it worse. After a long talk with my spiritual director, I spent some hours sitting with the shame of it, and faced up to exactly how I felt about continuing to drink - frightened, uneasy and ashamed of my lack of control. During the first week in August, I worked through the process, and made the decision to quit at the beginning of September.
At this point, God got involved, and I decided to make a commitment to Him and to some ministerial friends at our annual conference on 2nd September. Which I did. It was a powerful ceremony. A Bah'ai friend, who gave up drinking over 30 years ago, and who I had gone to for advice, said: "If you've made a promise to God, you can't break it, can you?" The Quaker Advice about "A simple lifestyle, freely chosen, is a source of strength' is also proving very helpful.
And that's all. I have made the choice to stay sober, and intend to stick to it.