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Grapevine : March 2011
side, about minus-20 degrees, but our coats were warm---inside the car. Does being tough keep us warm? Kirk's ex-wife is the one who set me up on a "blind date" with my wife. If my wife could have seen the future she never would have gone on that date. The first 16 years of our marriage were a living hell. Can we experience hell right here on earth? The last day I was supposed to work with the crew, Screaming George couldn't find us until that evening. Three of us had decided to take that sunny day off; we bought some beer and went swimming in- stead. George had bad news and I didn't receive it until later, when I was drunk. My younger brother, who was stationed in Germany, had been run over by a bus and killed. I remember coming to in the old pickup and camper I lived in when out of town. I went to the funeral in Washington. Not many days after the funeral I got married. This was going to fix everything---I was an instant family man with a wife and two chil- dren. We had two more children. As the family grew, the loneliness grew in my mind. Alcohol quit working. Nothing was working in my life and I wished for the end. Suicide was part of my daily thinking. I turned 41 in a treatment facil- ity. They pointed me to AA. Remem- bering back, I fought the program the same way I fought the rest of life. Somehow I managed to not drink, and kept coming back to meetings. Would the program eventually be- come part of my life and the miracle of sobriety come true as I "trudged the Road of Happy Destiny?" Meanwhile, back to Spud. Thir- ty-six years ago our actions revealed the craziness inside of us. We were rebellious, full of anger and ready to fight at the drop of a hat (even if there wasn't a hat). Now we are peacefully sitting at a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous, side by side, watching Ernie receive a 46-year chip. I looked at Spud and realized this was not the same man I knew before. He had the same face (aged some) but his entire countenance was new. Spud looked better at 76 than he did at 40. After the meeting we shared some experi- ence, strength, hope and the recov- ery from the disease of alcoholism. We exchanged phone numbers and a hug. Do men hug men? I dropped an AA friend off on the way home from the meeting. While driving on home, I felt so grateful. Tears were running down my cheeks. I prayed for the members of that old crew, and all the drunks still drink- ing. God, I know you are still in the miracle business, I thought. I ask that you "Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear wit- ness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always!" Stephen H. Sun City, Calif. Grapevine 45