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Grapevine : April 2011
dition Three. AA saved my life. A little over a year ago, I sat in a psych ward singing "Happy Birthday" to myself after trying to commit suicide in the midst of an alcohol-poisoned breakdown. This was the second time within months that I found myself in a 72-hour lock down under similar alcohol-related events. Between those two "visits," I had gone to AA, found a sponsor and was sober for 89 days. But the fear that unless I accepted a God or a Higher Power, I would be "doomed to an alcoholic death" and face cer- tain disaster turned me away. It scared me enough that I couldn't get past Step One. I was told my Higher Power could be anything: the power- ful ocean waves; a beautiful tree or whatever I liked. So, I started praying to the trees and faked it with my sponsor, saying I had done Steps Two and Three. Later, I moved away from the tree idea and started to believe that the sun rising outside my window was my Higher Power. The sun is certainly powerful, that much I understood. And it worked, for a while.... Soon I began to feel silly asking the sun or trees or the wind for help. My second "visit" to the ward followed and I wound up in lock down. To this day, I remember viv- idly the images of the locked door, the psychiatric doctor's face and hearing his words very clearly: "If we ever see you in here again, you will be going away for a very, very long time!" Those images and those words frightened me sober. After 10 years of alcoholic insanity, I got it. It was up to me to find a solution. During those 10 years, and up to that day, nothing had convinced me I had a problem. The numerous visits to hospital emergency rooms, my personal doctor telling me that if I continued to drink (four to six bot- tles of red wine, plus four to six small bottles of vodka a day) I was going to die of liver disease in a couple of years, flying to another country so I could drink and not be recognized, (in Australia they have pubs that Do not let the occasional (over) use of the word God frighten you away .... Some of us may even shift from our hardcore stance and one day find a Higher Power of our own. Remember, this is AA ... anything can happen. 44 April 2011