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Grapevine : June 2011
Two weeks later, I got a staph infection that put me in the hospital for almost a month, until the desire to drink was stronger than my will to stay sober. So out the back door of the hospital I went, in my gown, in search of a drink. I had no money or friends, but I always had my sewer hole. Sure, it was dark and cold but I had my booze. Then, out of nowhere, for the first time in 39 years, I felt alone and scared. I knew the party was over, but I didn’t know what to do. For a week, I couldn’t do much else but cry, shake and sleep. But, I didn’t drink. Then, on March 10, I sat up, looked toward the light streaming in from the outside world and prayed. “God,” I cried, “cure me or kill me.” When I awoke the next morn- ing, I went to an AA meeting angry, scared and truly insane. An old-timer told me to “Keep coming back,” so I did. I went to meetings day and night. When I was about ten days sober, I got a spon- sor. Then, I heard something that changed my life forever. It was in the chapter “A Vision for You,” where the Big Book talks about the “hideous four horsemen,” otherwise known as “terror, bewilderment, frustration and despair. Unhappy drinkers who read this,” the book claimed, “will understand.” I did. At 45 days of sobriety, someone opened their home to me. He had seen me at my worst, but believed in me and embodied the spirit of love and tolerance. After a year, I had my first, so- ber, long-term relationship. But, it wasnottobe,asat18monthsinmy sobriety, my partner passed on. I was able to do the unthinkable. I walked the last miles of his life and was there to hold his hand at the end. The Eleventh Step prayer was my solace, and my friends in Alcoholics Anonymous were there to help me stay sober. Today I know there is a solution. I have a sponsor who has a sponsor. I sponsor other men. I work the Steps as they are outlined in the book and, oh yes, service, lots of service. Today, I am not alone in a sewer. I am truly blessed. Some- times, I walk past that old sewer hole to remind me where I came from and where I could be again, if I ever drink. The relationship I have formed with my Higher Power, who heard me on that day, when I thought no one loved or cared, is making me the man I can be. Joey W. Palm Springs, Calif. So out the back door of the hospital I went, in my gown, in search of a drink. 38 June 2011 GRAPE_37-38.indd 38 4/21/11 4:05 PM