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Real Life

I joined alcoholics anonymous to find a husband

"My name is Amanda," I started, "and I'm an alcoholic. I started secretly drinking when I was 15, and now have found that my job and my life are both suffering. Nobody knows I drink, except my liver, and I want to change." The lies flew out of my mouth, just as I had rehearsed them. I used the pain of my latest heartbreak to present the tears that were needed for the impact I had hoped for. Once I had finished, everyone applauded, with Claudia, the coordinator giving me a comforting hug as I left the podium. Why was I there? Not to bear my soul about a made-up disease, but to finally meet a man worth meeting. Someone whose life depended on being sober. Someone with enough self-esteem to not disappear into a bottle every night. Someone with goals, determination, strength, backbone. I am a widowed woman of 36, with two small children to bring up on my own. I have unsuccessfully dated men who decide that going for a drink is the only entertaining night we could have. Even a night at the movies has to end at the pub. I am over it. I don't like drunks. I don't like the personality changes that happen after a few drinks. I don't understand it. I couldn't even begin to guess how many slurred pick-up lines I have heard when I am out with the girls, delivered by sickly sweet alcoholic breath. It's not what I want in my life, or my children's. I scoured many AA meetings in different suburbs to find the right group of people. I knew exactly what I wanted — a man who had been sober for at least a year who had started to rebuild his life successfully. Someone who would appreciate the love and support of a 'kindred' spirit. The idea had come to me five months before. My partner at the time confessed to having a drunken one-night stand, but said that it "meant nothing" — it was just the alcohol. He regretted it and would never do it again. Blah, blah, blah. The relationship before that ended after some violent mood swings ruined a fun night out. So how does a single woman meet a man that won't rely on alcohol to boost his personality? One who has recognised the problem, and lost a lot because of it. Someone whose life mission was to be sober and stay that way. My parents were alcoholics, my sister, and even I had flirted with the disease in my early twenties. So, as shameless as it appears, I did the only thing I could think of to find my ideal partner. His name was Matt, and he was the most beautiful man I had ever laid eyes on. As he spoke, he did so with strength, humility, and shame at the past. But he was proud of himself for his "now". He had stayed single and sober for three years. He was a man who had nearly lost everything. I feared that my heartbeat could be heard from where he stood. He was just so perfect. His wife had left him and he was fired from his $150,000 a year job. It took him three months of dancing with a bottle of scotch before his "light" went on. His children refused to see him because they didn't love the drunken daddy anymore. He lost his children, his wife left the state, and a counsellor took him to AA. His beautiful blue eyes told of the heartbreak he had suffered at his own hands, his strong handsome jaw portrayed his sullen resolve. His well-built body showed the health he now enjoyed after being sober for so long. I think I fell in love with him before he spoke, and as he told me later, he was in love with me. The next six months were a whirlwind for me. At that meeting, he introduced himself to me and we became inseparable. Within eight months, we were married. It's been two years of bliss for me now. I cannot imagine life without him. I just adore the man, from the minute I wake up, to when I drift off in his arms. I'm never wondering where he is, nor fearing that dreaded drunken punchline I had heard so many times before. I still go to the meetings with him, we don't stand up to speak so much anymore, and we sit there for the support and guidance that Matt thrives on so much. If he ever found out, I don't think I would be able to live with the consequence. So, I just keep it as my little secret. We all have to have them, don't we? Picture: Getty Images. Posed by models. Your say: Was this a fair thing to do to a recovering alcoholic? Does love right all wrongs? Have your say about this true confession below...

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