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Grapevine : August 2010
to give this sober thing a try. Who quits drinking when they're 17? I took off to college for one semes- ter, and when I came back my broth- er had turned into someone I barely recognized. He talked about being a good guy and wanting to get along with everyone. What radical ideas were they filling his head with at those AA meetings? We had spent good quality partying time together. Now it seemed that AA was going to take him away from me. In his senior year he made the honor roll and he went off to college. In the meantime my life was spin- ning quickly out of control. I ended up in a detox. It was not a pleasur- able experience. They talked to me in great detail about my drinking, but I was convinced that my drink- ing was out of control because I was taking painkillers. Still, when I left the detox I came to AA. A lot of people seemed to know my name and I began to understand what "saving a seat for me" meant. I stayed sober for three months and went out for a night. When I woke up up in the morning I couldn't believe what had happened. I drank with little or no control. I had not done any drugs so that wasn't the problem. I was definitely an alcoholic. It was devastating. I came to AA for the next six months but couldn't seem to stay so- ber for more than a couple of days. I never considered how hard that must have been for my dad and brother to watch until years later. I drank for the next three years with little or no thought to the consequences. I was going to die an alcoholic. AlotofAAstriedtogivemeames- sage of hope, but I was lost. I did pay attention to a few people who talked to me about things they wanted to do in their life and then somehow did. I could argue about what people said but not about the way they lived. The difference between them and me was that they were sober. After three years I got into an accident and, to please my mother, I returned to AA. I knew I would end up drinking again. I was doomed. I had several resentments against AA. In my mind, AA had turned my father into an old softy and my brother into a "tree hugger" who talked about walking the earth softly with God. What on earth hap- pened to the hell-raiser I knew? But I couldn't deny that they were both much, much happier than when they were drinking. My dad seemed like a good business- man, didn’t get arrested and didn’t beat my mom. He was my frst impres- sion of an alcoholic. 18 August 2010