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Grapevine : January 2011
O F all the things that dis- appeared in my years of alcoholism, the aspect that came to haunt me most was my loss of cognitive powers---intellect, intel- ligence and rational thought---the very qualities that differentiate man from beast. I had always placed great store in those aspects of my life, and yet they all succumbed as I skidded downhill and became totally depen- dent on alcohol. I am not at all certain how I retained sufficient mental acuity to realize and acknowledge the depths to which I eventually descended, but I do know that it was that remaining flicker of rational thought which evoked in me the most profound sense of despera- tion I had ever experienced. It pro- vided me with a turning point from which I have never looked back. I became determined to regain my humanity and dignity, my sense of Flicker of rational thought Enough intelligence remained for him to realize his desperation worth and esteem, and to reclaim my position as a respectable member of our society. I entered a rehab/detox center, and was able to incorporate AA into my life from that time on. The Prom- ises of AA, which seemed an impossi- bility when I first encountered them, were rapidly realized. I have learned more about life, and how to live it sanely, in the rooms of AA than I ever gleaned from any book, seminar or lecture hall. I have listened to the wisdom of my AA friends, and I have come to know a measure of the seren- ity I had previously denied myself. My life is better now than I had ever thought possible. The desire to drink was lifted early in my recovery, and I never fantasize about alcohol's allure. Occa- sionally, and invariably at totally un- predictable times, I will be enticed to drink. My defense mechanism is sim- ple, effective and foolproof, because I project where that first sip of that first drink will lead. Within nanosec- onds, I imagine myself returning to that dark abyss of despair and deg- radation, and it is a place that I am determined never to revisit. It is pure and healthy fear that has prevented me from relapsing as I enter my twelfth year of sobriety. I have no de- sire to return to the hell from which I have escaped, thanks to the organiza- tion known worldwide as AA. Brian G. Boca Raton, Fla. 58 January 2011