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Grapevine : December 2011
at 2 a.m. after spending all day and night barhopping. She was wide awake and came running toward me in full battle mode as I rolled into the driveway. Before I had time to close the car door, she attacked me with a determined, wild, roundhouse punch that caught me off guard and sent me reeling backward into a flower garden. That punch, and the immediate aftermath, including a visit from the local police, ended my boozing era. Thinking that if I quit drinking all would be well turned out to be false, but sobriety did begin a heal- ing journey. It was overdue. Looking back, I realize that I had been blind to the fact that marriage, starting a fam- ily, raising children and managing a house and home would require a shift in lifestyle hinging on some sense of responsibility. I mistakenly thought that it was the wife’s job to take care of all that practical stuff, leaving me free to operate my growing business and be a jolly good fellow at the lo- cal pub. Because she did mother our three sons, manage the household and put up with my bully behavior, I assumed all was well. That was before the day of reckoning. Putting down the drink and abandoning the bar scene was easy compared to owning up to my shortcomings and accepting my responsibilities sober, struggling earnestly to assume the roles of hus- band, father and neighbor. I won’t relate the blow-by-blow episodes along a 40-year adventure into right living, other than to say that AA guided me one day at a time. I still go to meetings, referring to them as my medicine. Regular doses inspire me to stay alcohol free. I dab- ble in spirituality, prayer and medita- tion. Most of my days are filled with challenges that delight me, like earn- ing an associates degree for my ego and taking writing courses for fun. Camping, biking and rock-wall building have had their allotted realm of interest in days gone by. Regular AA meetings offer me a con- stantly updated network of friends who invite me to embrace a list of character-building skills. Currently, I’m focused on accepting uncertainty and acting on, rather than reacting to, uninvited input from family and associates. I’d like to report that, after all this time, I am totally wife- approved and socially accepting of others. Regular exercise is big on my list of lifestyle imperatives. As a kid with cerebral palsy, I rejected therapy of all sorts. Exercise was a drag because it took away my playtime. Today, I visit the gym regularly and it has I’d like to report that, after all this time, I am totally wife- approved and socially accepting of others. aagrapevine.org 49 GRAPE_48-50.indd 49 10/28/11 2:25 PM