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Grapevine : May 2011
controlling it or quitting for extend- ed periods. I entered college, met the love of my life and promptly quit school, starting work to support the upcoming family we were pro- ducing. We had a typical existence, moving from one job to another in various areas of the Western states. I held many positions including truck stop owner, HVAC tech, me- chanic, electrician, plumber, and all around handy man. My final oc- cupation was rejuvenating depleted rentals for group realtors. It was getting to the point where I couldn’ t keep up with the stress and physical exertion, so I retired. I would rise every morning at about 6 a.m ., start the coffee and promptly go to the garage and have a drink from one of my stashed bot- tles. I’d read the paper and embark on one of my unplanned projects. Then, I would celebrate with a drink. This would continue until some time in the afternoon, when I would start supper for my wife’s arrival from work, when we’d spend time talking and watching TV or visiting with neighbors and friends. The next morning I would start the process again. I loved it. I was happy, content and thought I had the world by the tail. Little did I know I was the one being wagged. I had no idea the amount of money I spent on alcohol. I stashed bottles everywhere to ensure that in any situation, I would have a drink handy. I kept one in my golf bag, out- side in the storage shed, in my tool box, in back of the hall closet on a shelf, and under the seat of my pick- up truck. During this time, I didn’ t expe- rience hangovers or blackouts, but I’d accumulated three DUIs and was court–ordered to a recovery pro- gram for 21 days and to attend AA meetings for the remainder of my two–year probation. This was my first experience with any type of re- covery program. I was given the opportunity to chair some meetings, which I en- joyed very much, but I just could not get the hang of the program. I I awoke the next morning with the sun in my eyes, parked in a tennis court. I couldn’t open the doors on either side of my Bel Air, but found my keys in the glove box and pulled the car ahead to a nearby swimming pool where there was a phone. 40 May 2011 GRAPE_39-41.indd 40 4/4/11 1:04 PM