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Grapevine : July 2011
IWA S first introduced to AA in 1977, at the tender age of 13. I was born and raised with alcohol. It was all I knew. To endure life, you must have beer in hand. My fa- ther, numerous family members and friends taught me this im- portant life lesson, then most of them died of alcoholism. After a major geographical change, and a terrifying near death experience, I decided to stop drinking in 1987. I went to both AA and NA, as I am a dual addict. I found a sponsor and we read through the Twelve Steps in an easier, softer manner, if you know what I mean. I managed to see some fruits, like moving up in my job. I Thirteenth-stepped a newcomer, whom I married and had a son with. Sober members suggested I should do some service, like going to visit people in jails or take meetings into prisons. I blew them off, telling them I had other things to do. I was just too busy. I knew that others would visit the jails and prisons. As time went by, I progressed fur- ther in my company, which led to me starting my own business. Not only was I neglecting service work, I was also missing meetings. Finally, I quit going to AA. I was just too busy. Things were going so well by this time, I decided to partake in one long neck bottle of beer. The remaining five sat in the icebox for three weeks, during which time I convinced myself that I really didn't have a drinking problem. I was, after all, a working man, committed father and devoted husband. Before, I was just young and immature. Well, five months after I started drinking again, I was sepa- rated from my wife. Since I kept custody of my son (more out of spite than anything else) and was working so many hours, it wasn't long until I relapsed. In no time at all, I was back in the dark cycle of speed for breakfast, Bloody Marys for lunch and who knows what for dinner. A little over two years later, I found myself with a woman and two young daughters, in the midst of di- vorcing from an alcoholic husband. She was desperate, I was desperate: A match made in heaven. To win her back, her ex-boyfriend tried pitting her husband against me. In the end, the result was that at my son's fourth birthday party, the husband was dead. I said self-defense; they said murder. My prosecutor, it turned out, had just been released from an inpatient drug rehab and withheld favorable evidence from my defense, ensur- ing I was found guilty of first degree murder and sentenced to life in pris- on. The prosecutor subsequently re- lapsed, picked up a few felonies of his own, went to a few rehabs, and finally died from a heroin and cocaine over- dose on September 29, 2004. In 2002, I joined AA, as well as NA, in prison. These meetings were organized by a state employee, who aagrapevine.org 19