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Grapevine : December 2011
But I was rarely able to keep that promise. The obsession was too great. I married a woman who had known me for years. The possible con- sequences of continuing to drink were great enough for me to sincerely try to stop. I was able to manage that feat for a period of time. My marriage eventu- ally ended, and with the resistance re- moved I resumed my drinking habit. I moved to North Carolina and married again. My drinking was again a problem, and again I stopped for the most part. We would be at a social function, and someone would notice I wasn’t drinking. I would comment that my life was less complicated when I wasn’t drinking, which was the truth. When I went out of town on business, drinking was my first prior- ity. Once my mind determined I could get away with drinking, there was no way I could change it. I was honest about things except when it came to alcohol. I thought I was a good husband and a loving fa- ther. Soon, events came to pass that eventually even that marriage could not survive. Being financially crippled and spiritually dead, I became filled with rage. Suddenly I had a thought: I have not been drinking for 14 years, and look what happened? I’m going to start drinking the way I want to drink. Alcoholism progressively wors- ens even when the person is not ac- tively drinking. In my case, a few beers at home every evening progressed rapidly to hard liquor. I don’t remem- ber the first morning a strong belt of vodka seemed like a good idea be- fore work, but that morning came. In the blink of an eye I was drinking 24 hours a day. I would wake up in the middle of the night shaking badly, and only a large gulp right from the bottle would enable me to go back to sleep. When the alarm would go off I’d have to do it again to stop the shaking so I could brush my teeth and get to the of- fice. At work, every hour or so I would have to walk out to my car and have a couple of gulps from the bottle tucked under the seat. I was trapped in a horrible, hope- less place. Then a series of miraculous events began as a simple action. With help from my father, on a Thursday night I walked into my first AA meet- ing. I was so ashamed and apprehen- sive that I sat in the back of the room with my head down, praying no one would notice I was there. I didn’t know that there is an indescribably wonder- ful fellowship in AA. The people there noticed a new face and were quick to begin helping me. The program of AA I would wake up in the middle of the night shaking badly, and only a large gulp right from the bottle would enable me to go back to sleep. aagrapevine.org 41 GRAPE_39-42.indd 41 10/28/11 2:24 PM