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Grapevine : January 2011
This was also when my mom decided she needed help and went to AA. She often took me along with her while she attended meetings and I hung out playing pool in the room below the meeting. By age 15 I was attending Alateen on a regular basis andby17wasgoingonandofftoAA for myself. I ended up in a treatment facility after overdosing on drugs and drinking a massive amount of hard liquor. My stay in that facility was my first real attempt to stay sober, though I was not completely con- vinced I had a serious problem and I found sobriety fleeting at best. I re- lapsed one more time and this time I found myself in even more serious trouble. I was arrested with a case of cheap beer and a lot of illegal drugs. It turned out that the arresting officer knew my family (who by now lived in another state) and convinced my par- ents to take me in one last time, on the condition that I stay sober when I arrived. I agreed and drove to the city where my parents were living ready to start my new life in AA. I attended an AA meeting there that day only to find the members were all at least 30 years my senior. I was 18 years old, in a retirement community, trying to get sober. I used the "I am too young" excuse and in a short time found myself on the streets again. This time everything was dif- ferent. I found I no longer had any control whatsoever---I couldn't stop for any reason. This relapse lasted for about seven months and in that time I hit the bottom of the barrel. I ended up staying in a dumpster be- hind a fast-food restaurant because I couldn't afford a hotel room. Even at this level I didn't believe AA would work for me; after all, I had been in and out of AA for the last few years. AA didn't work for people like me--- people my age. Then one day I had a very differ- ent thought shoot through my mind--- if I didn't stop drinking I was going to die. It didn't matter if AA worked or not; I needed help. So I decided to give AA meetings one last shot. I got a hotel room and stayed sober for the next few days. One evening, all the street friends I had showed up at my door and brought drinks and drugs. That night I couldn't get drunk or loaded no matter how much I put in my body. I told my friends it would be the last time I ever drank with them and asked them all to leave and not come back. That was Jan. 7, 1982, the day that turned out to be my sobriety date. I had just turned 19. When I walked into the AA meeting place again, the same old people were there and they all wel- comed me back. I sat just long enough to hear the beginning of Chapter 5 of the Big Book. It was like someone had hit me on the head with a club---every word applied to me. That was almost 29 years ago now and Chapter 5 still Grapevine 47