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Grapevine : August 2010
stopped drinking and taking drugs, I would recover, and he suggested that after medical treatment I check into an addictions treatment center. I told him I probably did need a rest. After I graduated from that 30-day program and realized that I knew everything there was to know about getting sober, I went out and celebrated like any good alcoholic. It was as if I had never stopped drink- ing. Alcohol had literally taken me to within inches of my life. It was then that I realized and admitted that I was scared for the first time in my life. The only place I had left togowastoAA. I got into action. I got a spon- sor and actually followed his sug- gestions---most of them, anyway. I worked the Steps as best I could. To my amazement, the obsession to drink was gone. When my mind began to clear a little, after maybe a few months, I realized that my fam- ily hadn't heard from me for sev- eral years. In fact, the last time they knew I was alive was when I made the newspapers a few years prior in Florida, New York, Tennessee, Arkan- sas and California simultaneously. I remember thinking that I had done so much damage in my past that I didn't know where to start. Thank God the Steps are in order for a reason, and thank God for sponsorship. My sponsor walked me through the next five-and-a-half years. To be honest, though, I was not living a sober life. I was a dry drunk on a collision course for re- lapse and didn't even know it. I had been battling depression, I thought. First it was the divorce from my second wife. Her leaving caused a resentment that nearly killed me. Then it was the move back to Florida to be near my family and to try to be a father to my son, whom I had seen only once in eight years. My motives were well-intended, but my priorities were way out of balance. Cunning, baffling, powerful and patient! I listened to the lies that my disease was telling me. It told me that if I just stayed away from drugs, I would be OK. It told me I didn't fit into AA in this area, and that AA here wasn't any good. It told me I knew enough about sobriety that I could do this on my own. Within three months, I was slamming down the brews and wondering how this had happened again. My ego andpride kept me from coming back. I drank for the next 12 years. I used to think I didn't know how I ever made it through those years. Today I know that God had a different plan for me. He really does take care of fools and drunks, and I was definitely both. When I came back from Co- lombia, South America, where I had been mining gold on and off for three years with another brother--- another story on its own---I realized 46 August 2010