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Grapevine : October 2011
drink beer. I drank more than my share, and again it was like magic. There were two significant events before I turned 18 that changed the course of my life. My mom informed my dad that she was filing for a divorce and that she was only waiting for me to turn 18. My dad left to live with his girlfriend and my mom left to live with her boy- friend. That left me by myself with nowhere to go, with no job, no mon- ey or food. Now I was really all alone. I was devastated. The other signifi- cant event was that Iowa had low- ered the drinking age to 18, so for the next year I became a skid row drunk. I drank every day and ate very little, sometimes for two or three days. I remember showing up at a bar at 7 A.M. after drinking all night and won- dering where everyone was. A month before I turned 19, I got in trouble with the law and spent 23 days in the county jail. I got a two-year deferred sentence, but had to go to a long- term treatment center. It did me some good, but I only stayed sober for six weeks after I got out. I got into trouble with the law again twice and lost two jobs because of my drinking. In 1977, I moved into a halfway house and started attending AA. AA confused me. They talked in riddles. It was kind of working though, and I had found a precari- ous sobriety. Almost two years later, I relapsed. I was only out for a few months, but a lot of bad stuff hap- aagrapevine.org 23