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Grapevine : October 2011
empty and alone. I found sobriety again in 1994 and got a little more than a year. I tried working the Steps on my own and found myself on my knees lying facedown on the couch in my apartment crying like a little kid from all that childhood pain. I thought I was crazy. A short time later, my now ex- wife and I met for coffee. It was my feeble attempt to make an amends (prematurely). We talked for about two hours. I tried to admit all of my regrets and wrongs. Afterward she allowed me to see the kids. They came to visit for a weekend. When I had to take them home, I felt aban- doned and afraid. I got home in tears and went to bed crying. The pain was just unbearable, and I drank again a couple weeks later. I was so disgusted with my weakness. I thought of myself as pathetic. In 1996, I discovered crack co- caine. All of that year was spent get- ting high and drunk, and I lost a lot of friends and spent a lot of money. I was homeless by 1997 and contacted another halfway house. They ac- cepted me reluctantly. I got a former employer to hire me back and things were going well. I stayed sober for almost four years this time with very few AA meetings and again not working any Steps. I was absolutely miserable. In 2001, I relapsed again. And for the next three years I actu- ally seemed to have a little bit of con- trol. Alcohol was still my best friend. In 2004, I started hitting it hard. I spent almost every dime I could on crack and alcohol. Every time I did a big hit, I hoped this one would ex- plode my heart. I often longed for AA again, but felt like a total failure. In my mind I became an unwelcome hanger-on in AA. I believed people inAAhadgivenuponme...Ihad given up on myself. I wished for the end. I moved from job to job and got arrested nine times in the fol- lowing years. I would think, with all my knowledge about the program and the Big Book, I should be able to muster the strength to stay sober, but I couldn't. The idea that I was going to die drunk scared me to death. By 2005 I had lost another job because I stole a laptop computer from work to finance my disease. I convinced the employer not to file charges on the basis that I would pay for it. (I recently did a study of my employment history and found that I had started new employment 63 times in my life with 41 different employers!) My brother let me stay at his house, and for the next two years I bounced from couch to couch and sometimes slept outside. In 2007, I ended up in a detox, and three weeks later I was drunk again. I floundered for another two years. I was living in the streets. I saw some ugly stuff, things I hope my kids never see. I was in and out of detox several times. Shortly after aagrapevine.org 25