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Grapevine : January 2012
I juST celebrated my 45th anniversary in AA, and I can’t believe that all this time has passed and I still continue learn- ing. I still attend three to four meetings a week, and I am grateful for what I have. It’s the most precious gift in the world. My love affair with AA was not like that at the begin- ning. I once resisted calling myself an alcoholic. I would not accept it. I admitted that I drank too much some- times, but I knew many people who drank more and were not alcoholics. I just classified myself as a fun girl “who likes to drink!” Instead of identifying with people, I compared myself. I still had a husband, two young children, a car, a house and a job—therefore I was not like them. That arrogance took its toll. Going in and out of the program, I had to pay the price of shame, disgust, fear and loss of self-respect. I was young and could func- tion very well, but internally I was a wreck. I was angry, and sometimes I thought that I would explode. I did not know how to stop drink- ing. I even made pledges and tried to use my will- power, but nothing worked. I was stuck on the idea that Iwastooyoungtobean alcoholic. Then one day, I read the First Step in the “Twelve and Twelve,” and it said: “In AA’s pioneering time, none but the most desper- ate cases could swallow and digest this unpalatable 45 years strong my home town in Florida, which caused problems for my family, so we returned to D.C . That marriage fell through, so I left him. Like the husbands, babies came. I had another girl when I was 29. Not too long after, I started at- tending AA meetings. I even had a therapist, but I didn’t have a sponsor. I joined a church, hoping that would help. I even went back with my third husband, but that didn’t help. By the summer of 1958, I was going crazy and needed to be put away. I was going through something that old-timer alcoholics refer to as “the horrors,” which was something halfway between the delirium tre- mens and a seizure. I saw dust balls following me. A large man was hang- ing on the wall of my apartment, like a spider, his hands and feet inside the plaster. Shortly before I sobered up, I did the most horrible thing imaginable. I took my girls down to the Potomac River, intending to drown myself and the baby. I took the oldest one up to the boardwalk, carrying the baby out into the water. It was a terrible mo- ment of fear and desperation, and it wasonlybyanactofGodthatIwas 58 January 2012 GRAPE_56-59.indd 58 11/22/11 3:09 PM