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Grapevine : September 2011
O n this beau- tiful spring morning, after almost three months with- out alcohol or drugs, I am be- ginning to feel alive again. I am noticing signs of life all around me. The birds are frolick- ing and building nests. Yellow flow- ers seem to have emerged overnight through soil, still cold from a long winter. As I'm savoring the hot cof- fee, allowing my eyes to focus on the beauty around me, I begin to reflect on the past 25 years of my life, a life filled with such promise yet wasted because of alcohol and drugs. At 14, I was an outstanding football player and popular with my peers. My grades were above aver- age and everyone assumed I would enroll in college. After my father left, my strong African-American mother worked hard to provide me with the things I needed to be suc- cessful. Her unconditional love gave me support and encouragement to fulfil my dreams. It wasn't a big deal when I began drinking and smoking weed with my friends, I thought. No one could have predicted that in a couple of years I would quit football, drop out of school and become a ju- venile offender. Now, at 39, I'm sitting on my mother's back porch, thinking about those wasted years. The only positive step I took was to join the Job Corps and learn a trade (before being ex- pelled from school for selling drugs). Five years ago, the courts sent me into treatment. When I gradu- ated from the program, I went to Al- coholics Anonymous, found a spon- sor and began working the Steps. Living in a large city gave me the opportunity to attend various meet- ings where I could find other young people and enjoy an active social life. I met a young woman, also new in recovery, and we married. We continued attending meetings and working with our sponsors, but material things slowly became more important. The trade I had learned gave me a good job and we bought a house and a car. My wife began to use drugs and alcohol again. Before long, I joined her. It took only a few months to lose everything, including my beau- tiful wife, who is still out there, somewhere on the streets. Our dis- ease took us to the gates of hell and I experienced the presence of evil. Somehow, once again, God deliv- ered me to my mother's house in Kentucky. He led me back to the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous and the care of a loving sponsor. So, on this beautiful spring morning, I'm thinking about my life and all that has happened to me in an effort to move forward. Have I considered all the implica- tions of this deadly disease? Why 46 September 2011