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Grapevine : May 2011
H eRe I am, returning to the place of employ- ment that I left 20 years ago. Back then, I was leaving the worst work situation I had ever encoun- tered. Now I know that I had a role in the conflict and poor communica- tion that occurred. I was newly sober, you see, and had not experienced the “psychic change” that would occur once I had worked the Steps. In the ensuing 20 years, as I moved from job to job, I had the good fortune of working the Fourth Step, and experienced its uncanny ability to reveal to me the misconceptions and old ideas that had me trapped in unhappiness, all caused primar- ily by myself. I learned that I could not play well with others and that when the going got tough, I picked up my toys and head- ed out the door. I was a people- pleaser, carrying around a suitcase full of reasons for leaving that usually sounded good, but really I was just un- happy when things didn’t go my way. I should have been a worker among ductive as possible, motivated by the knowledge that it wouldn’t be long before I could have my first drink. After a drink or two that evening, my concern about drinking too much melted away. It was now okay to have a third drink ... and so it began again. how could this happen to me? I am a well–educated professional with friends, a wife, two children who love me and, quite frankly, I make a lot of money. Alcoholics stumble around in the gutter and live in cardboard box- es, right? I wanted to modify my con- sumption, the only problem was that I had lost all power to do so. Finally, after having gotten very drunk and passing out, again, I awoke in the den of my house. My wife re- minded me of my agreement to seek help if I got drunk again. Being too arrogant to rescind, I called a judge friend who I knew used to have a drinking problem. I told him of my own struggle with alcohol and, to my surprise, he said he’d pick me up af- ter dinner and we could talk. What he did was take me to a neighborhood AA meeting and changed my life. Initially, I entered the meeting with a great deal of apprehension. It didn’t help that, to my horror, I rec- ognized my insurance agent and a fellow attorney acquaintance there, working amends She quit in a huff, but returned 20 years later, sober and reliable. 16 May 2011 GRAPE_15-17.indd 16 4/4/11 1:08 PM