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Grapevine : April 2011
Once, alcohol was my muse. I would sit up all night guzzling whis- key and sipping red wine, spinning happy tales of sorrow and woe. In 1988, while driving back to Virginia where my father had died from alcohol and drug abuse, I wrote a song called "Put the Drink Away": I'd started on the same path that led to Daddy's grave. Drinking would have taken me to where he just was laid. The song was prophetic, though it would be another 17 years before I actually put the drink away. In early sobriety, I was sure that poetry would abandon me. Now, I find that there is just as much poetry, it just tends towards spirituality. Once, alcohol was the way I'd en- hance my eye-to-hand coordination. I specialized in one-handed sports like darts, horseshoes, shuffleboard, and even ping pong and tennis, while holding a beer in the other hand. For two-handed games like billiards, pin- ball and bowling there was always a beer nearby that I could quickly swig between play. Who could imag- ine fishing without beer? Or hunting without brandy? I'd convinced my- self that even woodworking required beer. I know now that none of these endeavors benefited from drinking. Each has proved to be more fun when I'm fully present and not distracted by the obsession to get drunk. Liquor was the social lubricant I'd use to fit in. As my friend Jackie pointed out, "If you drink to be so- cial, you're not a social drinker." I was the alcoholic who partied before the party then invited others back to my place for the party after the party. How could I do that sober? Well, now I plan and prepare parties, fully enjoy myself during them and afterwards I sleep in a stationary bed (one that's not spinning) and wake up pain-free. And haven't bitten a single female's butt in over 25 years! Like my friend Mary says, "I no longer pass out and come to. Now, I go to sleep and wake up." I'm not compelled to perpetuate the myth that I'm the life of the party. I now believe that being the life of the party will be the death of me. In Alcoholics Anonymous, I've found plenty of sober people who love to party. In 2009, we started out the new year in a bowling alley, singing Happy Birthday to Les W. who, in his fifties, "turned 17" at the stroke of midnight. Several hours later, four of us were at all-night marathon meet- ings with other kindred spirits, get- ting home at daylight. For the last two years, I've chaired marathon meetings at the Sunshine of the Spirit convention in Victorville, Calif., from midnight to four o'clock on Sunday morning, arriving home just as the sun was coming up. And, you know the coolest thing about all this sober carousing? It's completely innocent and my wonderful (normie) wife of 23 years actually endorses this behavior. In working Steps Three and 36 April 2011