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Grapevine : April 2011
TODAY is Remembrance Day and, thanks to AA, I have a lot to be grateful for. On No- vember 30, 2010, I celebrated 41 years of sobriety and on Dec. 5, 2010, I turned 68. You would think with all those years I'd have the world by its tail. No, far from it. Since I hit the 39-year mark, it's pretty much been total dev- astation. Here's a quick background: I am one who comes from a broken home, due to alcoholism. I picked up alcohol in my early teens and, lo and behold, became an alcoholic. I married an abusive alcoholic and, needless to say, when I joined AA my partner wanted nothing to do with it and we eventu- ally got divorced. The man I was to marry in AA had a good program. We actually lived together for five-and- a-half years before marrying and it seemed like we had it all. We worked hard in our lives and on our programs and the days went on. Then, a few years ago, after many problems and family deaths, we picked up another very sneaky disease, gambling. It started so innocently, but wow, what a problem. We never drank but my gambling grew worse than my husband's. We got into financial dif- ficulties, which caused tension in our marriage. But I felt as long as we had our AA and each other that money wasn't everything. Wrong! My husband, who never could deal with anger, built great resentment toward me. All of a sudden, he announced he had feelings for someone else. Well, here is where my life became totally undone, except for being sober. He left me for another woman who lived in the building where he worked. She needed AA (and he got her there) and they began an emotional affair. He left me for a newcomer! At 39-and-a-half years sober, I wanted to drink so badly to cover the pain and guilt for whatever respon- sibility I had in ruining our 35-year relationship. I thought we were a good AA couple and didn't have any reason to believe otherwise. I had no idea he was so unhappy. Nevertheless, I found myself alone for the first time in many, many years. I was not used to asking anyone for anything, but I had to reach out quickly or I knew I'd sink right back into the bottle. This would have meant death or getting locked up. My pain and anger were out of control. Well, thanks to this beautiful program I reached out to the only family I have: My friends in AA. Like a newcomer, I got to seven meetings a week. I lost 30 pounds due to the emotional upset. It seemed like all I could do was cry. When the separation came, I felt another knock to my self-esteem. By the end of December, I wound up in the hospital with a minor heart at- tack. While I was there, they found a mass on my lung. So, here I am, first Christmas alone, first AA birthday aagrapevine.org 11