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Grapevine : January 2011
tioned his genetic line. There was a certain inevitability to this sequence. Of course, the aforementioned derision sent Brian into a frenzy of curses, as well as no small amount of stomping his feet and jumping up and down. He grabbed at his other shoe. (One has to understand that the shoes were five dollars, as com- pared to the 50-cent ball.) No. He's not going to do it, I thought. He did it. He threw that shoe right into the razor wire, at the ball and the other shoe. Brian was now without shoes, because of that 50-cent ball. All around me, there were howls of laughter. Guys were lean- ing on each other and falling down. There was much mirth in what is, generally speaking, a mirth-free zone. As all this madness was going on, the now red-faced Brian was still cursing; trying to tough it out, as would any red-blooded alcoholic. He hadn't messed up. It was "the stupid ball" and "the f---ing shoes." Hilarity and chaos reigned, but I hardly noticed, for I was suddenly struck with what was, for me, a life- altering notion. It was this: Brian had just illustrated to me the story of my life. Every time I went out drinking, I knew in advance that my "good time" was, like that ball, already ruined. It would end badly, because I wouldn't stop drinking un- ON Sunday, Nov. 13, 2004, a U.S. Coastguard represen- tative stopped in front of my house at exactly 11:10 A.M., bringing me the horrific news that my son had died in a diving exercise on Oahu, Hawaii. You cannot believe how quickly our family found itself in turmoil. e disbelief, sorrow, anger and self-pity were unimaginable. Since I had been in AA and had been sober for 10 years, I found myself clinging with all my might to everything AA had to o er. My first thought was not to drink: Please, Higher Power, help me not to drink. Don't let me go back to the place I tried to get away from for the past 10 years. My second prayer was to please let me be able to bring home something from the Big Book, so I could be of some kind of help to all of my family. One cannot imagine the emo- tion I experienced during this time in my sobriety. Sometimes I was very angry, so I would snap at fel- low AAs. I wanted to stop all my regular meetings in order to get away from it all. I figured if I was going to new meet- ings I would not be FROM GRIEF TO GRATITUDE 24 January 2011