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Grapevine : September 2011
munity, but when I was at the World Convention last summer in San Anto- nio and AA presented it's 30 millionth Big Book to the American Medical As- sociation, I cried tears of gratitude for the medical professionals who helped save my life. When my bottom was greeting me with a big smile and open arms, the one thing I did right was get my- self a therapist and tell her the truth. I had been drinking several bottles of red wine (a thin veil of sophistication) daily, not to mention beers and com- plementary pot smoking, with proper binges on weekends. A subsequent blackout left me aphasic. I lost the ability to form or understand language for several hours and it scared me to death. So I cut out the drugs. My therapist recommended I try some controlled drinking, suggesting I have two drinks every night ... no more, no less. If I could not manage that, she said, I might be an alcoholic, and then I'd have to stop altogether. I was adamant I could do the two drinks a day thing, terrified I would lose the love of my life, alcohol. I went out and bought a massive wine glass that could accommodate half a bottle of wine and began my experiments with controlled drinking. Success! I drank two humungous glasses of wine every night ... no more and certainly no less. This worked for about three weeks. My 26th birth- day was coming up and I thought I could make an exception for one night. When my therapist said no, I was shocked. How was I supposed to celebrate my birthday on two drinks? Besides, I could hardly bring my enor- mous wine glass out with me. On the night in question, I fully intended to stick to my rule. When I arrived at the bar, my work colleagues were doing tequila shots. I love tequi- la shots, but those tiny shot glasses were so small. I would definitely need a larger drink. I guzzled coke for two hours, jealously watching my friends down shot after shot, punctuated with the holy ritual of salt and lime. It was intoxicating just to watch them. I was enthralled, obsessed, until I finally did a shot. I drank one, which, naturally, led to another. Within minutes of my second shot, I decided that my thera- pist's idea of controlled drinking was ridiculous. She was uptight and crazy. Any normal person would have more than two drinks on their birthday. It was normal. I was normal. I decided to have another shot. This, in AA, is what we call rationalization. Off I went on another bender, seducing someone I knew to be in a committed relationship. I awoke next to the only coworker I hadn't slept with, until that morning; someone I thought was my friend. After I asked him to leave, I spent the morning and early afternoon vomiting. I felt dirty and soiled, coming up with a new aagrapevine.org 39