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Grapevine : December 2011
I’ve been sober for 14 years and a practicing Buddhist. I found no problem integrating my spirituality with my sobriety and working the Steps. Part of my spiritu- al program involves not being overly attached to material things. That was true for me until I entered into a bitterly contested divorce. At the onset, I told my lawyer that I did not care what happened, except that I wanted to hold on to my ranchi- tos, which I built with savings accumulated over 35 years of hard work and sacrifice. During a two-year peri- od of contentious legal wrangling and soaring court costs, I lost my inheritance, life savings and IRA—but held on to my ranchitos. When the final de- cree occurred after a two-day trial, the most horrific thing happened to me. I could not hold on to my ranchitos. Could not buy out my ex-wife’s portion. There was no way I could keep it. There was no money left. Being retired for a few years, I could find no work in my field. I looked into teaching at several uni- versities and colleges. There were at least six applicants for every position with graduate degrees much fresher than mine. I couldn’t even get a job at the local hardware store. I had to sell the farm. All the time I stayed in- volved in the Fellowship and went to meetings every day. I was in constant contact with my sponsor and kept working the program with my sponsees. All that didn’t matter. I crashed and burned. I went into an extreme PTSD reac- tion. I lost my sanity and went sui- cidal. The first attempt I hid from my friends, family and sponsor. After the second and third at- tempts, my sponsor and grand-spon- sor were there for me. They helped me pick up the pieces and realize what was important—life. Those contacts kept me together enough to ask for help. It was a new First Step for me. They all helped me find a good doctor and a good counselor. I began to address the underlying causes and conditions of my reaction. Long ago childhood and military experiences contributed to that pent-up reaction. Over a three-year period, the help gelled. In that time of crisis my true friends came through. I owe my life and my sanity to those closest to me in the Fellowship. Ted U. Bernalillo, N.M. Losing the ranch aagrapevine.org 47 GRAPE_46-47.indd 47 10/28/11 2:25 PM