Well, guess somebody's got to start, right?
Alot of you 'oldtimers' already know my story (big 2 months here!) but I'll take the plunge to get the ball rolling.

I am American, 47 yrs old, living in France for 21 years. My father was a "nice" alcoholic, loved his gin martinis... every night! When I was 14 or 15, I started sneaking the gin out of his bottle and loved to sit, listen to music and drink gin and orange juice.

Through high school and on through college, I continued to drink, especially on the weekends. No big problem, I was a "party girl" but did have a tendancy to drink too much when I went out and LOVED to drink alone (big uh-oh). But I could hold it... and I just kept going. When I met my future husband in Houston, Texas, we would spend every evening having wine. By the time I moved to France, he and I would "indulge" almost every evening. After seven years and lots of trying, I finally got pregnant with my first son, and quit cold turkey, as I did with my second pregnancy (another great son!). But after the pregnancys I found that I just got started drinking again. Over the years, it got worse and worse.

In 2003, I moved out and divorced (that's another story and my ex and I are still great friends) but I really went into a tail spin and started drinking heavily and having blackouts. It was really downhill. I met my current guy (21 years my junior) and he never started criticizing my drinking until about 6 months ago. He encouraged me as best he could to get it under control, but I was incapable of doing it. Back in August, when I finally found this site, I spent one evening drinking "his" bottle of Jack Daniels, and he chewed me out for it! I was enraged because I have really helped him in the past and since, he has left for a year's traineeship far from home, and is only here every one or two weekends.

HOWEVER, I finally realized that if I didn't want someone to find me drunk or dead one morning after a bout with alcohol and if I wanted my guy to be able to go off and do his traineeship with a light heart and do the best he can, I'd better get my act together. I ordered the book, bought the supplements and got my doctor to prescribe the topamax (I was his "guinea pig"). The topa, after 3 weeks, started giving me bad eye pressure (which I had felt right away) and some other really strange side effects, so I opted for going off the topa. Kept up with the rest of the program, however, and got myself on Campral back a little over two weeks ago. My brain waves have changed, at least I'd like to think so... but I no longer have those horrible cravings. I am proud of myself and thrilled with the way I am able to deal with my alcoholism. Since mid August, I've only gone on one "bender", and once I had a glass of wine, but I have been completely abstinent for over three weeks.

I can't tell you how much this program has changed my life. I'm a new person, inside and out (those fine lines around my eyes are gone, my skin looks taughter and clearer, not to mention my eyes!) I have this incredible energy and feel fit and ready to attack every new day with optimism and CONTROL. I have problems like everyone (my latest : my dog and 5 cats have ringworm, lordy I didn't need that!) but I feel so much better and know now that I can face my problems head on without using alcohol as a crutch. Truth be, the "high" I'm getting in feeling good physically and mentally, plus the pride I feel in myself (which hadn't been there for quite a long time) is so much more rewarding than the buzz I would get from alcohol, makes it all worthwhile.

To those who are new : PLEASE DO THE PROGRAM AS INDICATED IN THE BOOK. As Amy has said in another post, you need to do everything in combination, find out which supplements or which medication is right for you (Topamax is the ultimate and works best for most people, whereas Campral is only for those who are going for complete abstinence). Do the hypno, exercise and take your supplements and especially the ALL ONE EVERY DAY. If certain things upset your stomach or make you feel strange (for me, it's L-Glutamine) then you can cut back or switch to something else after your trial period. But DO try to do everything at once. Our brains have been so accustomed to the booze that you need to attack this problem from all sides, not just take a pill.

Et voil?, nuff said. C'est moi!