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Grapevine : September 2011
THE VACANT CHAIR In life, loss is inevitable ... a four-letter word meaning pain through extraction. It is not something that tends to result in a great deal of happiness. Once experienced, one must overcome this loss and move on with life on life's terms. When active, I numbed the pain by downing as much alcohol as the day allowed. In sobriety, feelings are keenly experienced, the good and the bad. I choose the way of sobriety, albeit sometimes painfully. Helen Keller said, "What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply be- comes a part of us." Growing up with an alco- holic father, criticism was a sec- ond language in my house. Words can damage and scar deeper than some physical cuts. I tried for four long years to get sober, but couldn't get rid of the condemning voices, criticizing my every move, telling me I wasn't good enough. Alcohol comforted me in my mis- ery, which was just what I felt I de- served. It wasn't until my father's death, and the silencing of the criticism which plagued my think- ing, that I was able to truly get and stay sober. He only did the best he could at the time. He had the soul sickness, and I take comfort in memories, for they will indeed be a part of me forever. I am grateful to my father for providing me a way into this beauti- ful program of recovery and life. I had lost my way and my purpose. I was suffering from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. I learned that failure is not fa- tal, but failure to change may be. Their physical bodies may no longer be with us, but our cherished members are far from gone PHOTO BY ANONYMOUS 20 September 2011