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Grapevine : December 2011
shield. I argued with my father to be honest, screaming, inwardly fighting my deep-seated rage to pound his face. But he stuck to his “falling down the stairs” story so well that I believed he believed it himself. Eventually, with alcohol—my best friend, my lover, my God, the only one I thought I could ever trust to never let me down—I’d become a living tornado, hell-bent on the de- struction of everyone’s lives. I had lost my mind, my spirit and my soul. There were times that, in a drunken stupor, I wanted to drive out to my parents’ home and beat my father to near death, but I settled for the clos- est drunk at the bar. I started a rela- tionship with a woman who was also alcoholic and just as violent, self-cen- tered and vicious as my father. My disease escalated, and I was at war with myself and everyone around me. A job wasn’t flexible enough for my drinking and partying, so I started my own business, fueled by grandiose ideas. Business gave me a platform to be impersonal, greedy, and self-cen- tered, with a seemingly endless supply of alcohol. I married that woman, and for the next several years our lives cen- tered on fueling our addictions and greed. My alcoholic mind convinced me that I was a nice guy on an impor- tant, grandiose mission. When my wife and I separated, she got pregnant. Thinking I was trapped in a hateful alcohol-induced marriage, I lost all control and lashed out. I lost the company and my san- ity. I fell into what the Big Book calls “incomprehensible demoralization.” When I’d beg institutions to take me in because I was insane, they’d ask if I was drinking. Irate at the idiocy of even suggesting my problems were related to drinking and not the people and chaos around me, I’d storm out. I didn’ t try to stop drinking at all (never considered it a problem) un- til my daughter was born. There are certain feelings that are so powerfully ingrained within the human genome that you can’t hide from them no mat- ter how much you drink. I loved this child. It was instant and pure. Sudden- ly, I was a father, but not just a father; I realized that I had become my father. This little girl could not grow up as I did. She should have at least one sane parent. I was going to therapy for a while before to work on my “insan- ity,” and there I learned much about adult children of alcoholics and the difference between being crazy and acting crazy. But knowing about po- tential psychological problems didn’t help me stop drinking. My first spon- sor had told me that to an active alco- holic, 90% of the problem is the drink, but to a recovering alcoholic, it’s only 10%. Alcoholism is a thinking disease. I had reached my bottom when I realized that drinking myself to death was harder than living. I had had enough. I knew that my life was un- manageable, but it wasn’t until I start- ed working the program of AA that I 34 December 2011 GRAPE_32-35.indd 34 10/28/11 4:09 PM