by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Grapevine : February 2011
San Francisco seemed like a place where I could party constantly with no consequences. I hung out with travelers and got a job cooking burg- ers at a dive bar. I was wasted all the time. I met a woman who drank like I did and we moved in together. We took turns carrying each other home from the bars, holding each other's hair back or keeping each other out of fights. I got to a point where I could not or would not leave my house unless I was completely wasted---even for work. One night on the bus home from the bar I passed out and ended up in a part of Oakland unknown to me. As I stumbled home, a police car stopped beside me. The policeman got out and asked me where I was go- ing. When I slurred my response, he tried to cuff me. I resisted and spent the night in jail. Later, lying on the floor of a holding cell, I counted the ceiling tiles and wondered why I had landed there again. I remembered how much promise I'd had as a young artist. I remembered all the nights in the hos- pital with a banana bag (the potassi- um IV they give to patients with alco- hol poisoning) plugged into my arm to sober me up. I remembered that moment of clarity I'd had years ago while sober and how I hadn't found anything like it in years of drinking. Yet I drank again. The pain didn't go away. No matter how much I drank I still felt the sting of my reality and I became nau- seous and ashamed. Days later, I de- cided I would go back to Alcoholics Anonymous. I was still living with the woman I'd met in the bars. I had told her early on in our relationship that I loved her, and I meant it. I told her that I wouldn't make her stop drink- ing, but I wasn't sure if I could stay with someone who was drinking and stay sober at the same time. As a result, we have spent the last two years together---sober. Now I am in the San Francisco airport waiting to go back to the city I knew only as a drunk. I am going back to be close to family and find a job. This fall, at a state park out- side the city, I will get married to the woman I love. As I sit here I am alone with my thoughts and my Higher Power. I am very aware of my disease and triggers. I am confronted with op- portunities to drink every day. I could drink right now---I can see an airport bar from where I sit. But I am not afraid---the obsession has been lifted. My first sponsor showed me how I could transform my faults into assets by staying sober and carrying the mes- sage to other alcoholics. That is what I do day by day. Now that some days are stacked up back-to-back, other dreams are starting to come true as well. Paul W. Philadelphia, Pa. 42 February 2011