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Grapevine : August 2010
I WA S struck sober 25 years ago in my oldest brother's attic, at 6:07 A.M., the moment of sun- rise. I know the time and place because it was the single most important moment of my life, and the beginning of the road to recovery. God said to me, "Every- thing is going to be all right. The only thing you have to do is never take an- other drink or drug again." The light slowly faded and 15 years of physical compulsion and mental obsession with inebriation was lifted. My brother had bailed me out of jail the night before. I'd been ar- rested one mile from town, after a 1,000-mile journey, for my fifth DUI. "I only had two beers!" I'd protested. I wanted to be dropped off at home to blow my head off with my deer ri- fle, (which my brother didn't know, but may have suspected). Instead, he took me to his home, where the fam- ily had a meeting about my grave situation and my need to go into a treatment center. I attended my first AA meeting the next day, where I heard my story, met my sponsor and began my journey to freedom. A strange man came up to me, told me I stank, and said I needed to get into the nearby river and wash myself---which, amazingly, I did. He later became my sponsor. My story is one of family dis- ease---and family recovery. I am the youngest of four brothers; two who'd been sober nearly two years when I hit bottom, and another who got sober a year after me. We cov- ered the gamut: country-club high- roller, successful businessman, ge- nius artist and juvenile delinquent. We subjected our parents to two decades of insane alcoholic behav- ior in the fishbowl of small-town America. We were well-educated, successful and admired on one hand; despised, loathed and pitied on the other. The embarrassment we caused ourselves in the commu- nity and the insanity we endured at family functions, with four raging alcoholic brothers, was tragic. One by one, we crashed into the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous and we recovered by practicing the prin- ciples of the program. We got spon- sors, worked the Steps, did service work and had spiritual awakenings that removed the obsession to drink. My mother and little sister found peace and recovery in Al-Anon. To- day, I honor my best friends---my three brothers---for trudging this road of happy destiny with me. I also have a nephew in recovery, which proves that the disease lives on even as we tried to break the chain in our generation. Our sobriety proves that AA works. God willing, this year my three brothers and I will celebrate 100 years of collective continuous sobriety. Kirk K. Al Ain, United Arab Emirates Grapevine 23