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Grapevine : January 2012
ber thinking how strange it was that these people came on a Sunday afternoon instead of waiting for a business day. They brought me the message of AA, which i had never heard of, and that night they took me to a meeting. The next day they drove me three and a half hours to a hospi- tal in Milwaukee. i figured that i was going to still another mental asylum. i wondered if the rat race would ever stop. But it was an al- cohol rehab. That was in August of 1978. The only thing that i recall from those 28 days was the fact that even though i did not get into trou- ble every time i drank, every time i did get into trouble, alcohol was always involved. i stayed sober off and on for the next five years, but i couldn’t get honest. i couldn’t overcome the self- hatred. i couldn’t get over my fear of people. The relapses were inevitable. it wasn’t until February 13, 1984 that i—please God—took my last drink. like some recovering alco- holics, the chaos didn’t go away im- mediately. The emotional ups and downs were unbearable at times. depression clung to me like a leech. i would attend meetings regularly, watching newcomers come in and soon get that twinkle in their eyes that said they were “getting it.” i couldn’t figure out why it would not happen for me. i had not lost my sui- cidal tendencies. At 10 years sober, i had another suicide attempt. i was to be admitted to a mental hospital five times in sobriety. in therapy, i discovered that i was one of those “who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders.” i remember reading that Bill W. suffered from de- pression. i figured that if he could do it, so could i. i sought outside help, and was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and major depression, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder from the ongoing abuse of my childhood. Since i am doing what i need to be doing to take care of my mental ill- ness, some new doors have opened up for me regarding my recovery in AA. i realize that i do have the ca- pacity to be honest—with others, yes, but more importantly, with myself. And i realize that i do have a pur- pose in life, and that i’m not a piece of junk that is unworthy of taking up space in this world. A friend once said, “i used to suffer from insanity, but now i enjoy it.” i have clung to that phrase and find that it works for me. i have learned to laugh at myself. The Promises have been coming true for me. i still have some fear of peo- ple, but i read a phrase somewhere that states, “courage is being afraid— but acting anyway.” At a birthday meeting when i was two years sober, my sponsor told me that i needed to go to the podium and share how i did it. i told her that i was afraid. i said that it would feel aagrapevine.org 43 GRAPE_40-46.indd 43 11/22/11 3:59 PM