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Grapevine : August 2011
morning just to get started. I would fill one water glass with vodka and one water glass with room tempera- ture water, no ice. I would slam the vodka first, following it quickly with water. I would stand perfectly still to not disrupt the vodka's relief. After a few moments, the inevitable would happen and I'd throw up, usually out of the kitchen window and into the yard. When that was over, I'd repeat the procedure, standing very still again, hoping, wishing and pray- ing that this drink would stay down. Usually, when the vodka rushed back up my throat, this time I'd be able to force it back down. I'd stand very still and wait for the magic to happen ... relief. The last drink, the one that made me feel human, was the one that got me out the door. Most nights, I could be found ly- ing in a bed full of urine, clutching a plastic vodka bottle, my body so saturated with liquor that I could no longer make it to the bathroom. The next day, the festivities would begin again. My older sister tried to get me sober, but, bless her heart, she didn't know what she was up against. My younger sister warned that I would not be able to see my nephews if I continued to drink. My alcoholism said not to worry, this was the price I had to pay for having all of this fun. One night, I got into an accident driving home in a blackout, wreck- ingmycarandIwoundupinthe hospital. When I came to, I called a cab, asked the driver to take me to the liquor store and went home to drink in peace. My younger sister ar- rived at my home and was horrified to find it full of empty beer cans. She called the paramedics and away I went, back to the hospital. This time, when I opened my eyes and turned my head, she was sitting in the chair next to me. "You look like an angel," I said to her and that was my last drunk. After a five-day detox at home, I began to realize how afraid of living I was. I was also, however, afraid of dy- ing. I wanted to live but didn't know how, so I got on my knees and asked God to make my fear manageable, at least enough so I could breathe. There weren't any bright lights from the heavens. Nothing dramatic happened, except for a sense of calm, coupled with the understanding that if I stay sober, I had a shot ... whereas if I drink, I die. I have a life worth living today. I attend AA meetings regularly and I love them. Everything I need to know to live my life sober, one day at a time, I have learned in a meeting. I can call up the friends I've made in the program at any time and tell them that I love them, because I do. I am able to breathe freely and easily when I am sitting in a meeting of Al- coholics Anonymous. I can be myself and feel comfortable. In 2003, I moved to Florida and 40 August 2011