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Grapevine : January 2012
I first came to the U.S. when i was 16 years old. My sisters were here for a few years already. When i got here they had a place and a job for me. My older sister said to me, “look José, you are responsible for your acts and no one else. if you want to eat, you will have to cook yourself. if you want to wear clean clothes, you will have to wash them. And of course rent and food, you will have to pay that before anything else. After that, you are a free man.” i had not seen my sister for a long time, so i was surprised she talked to me that way, but i liked it. i love the idea of being free, the idea of not having to tell anybody what i’m doing. i drank alcohol in Mexico, and things were completely different. Now i was going to be respon- sible—at least for the next few years. No hangovers, no absences from work, no troubles with the law. At 18, i got married. That didn’t last long. We separated after a year, and my drinking got worse. i’m not sure what happened to the next 10 years of my dent. several people mentioned that maybe I had a drinking problem or maybe I was an alcoholic, but I was convinced that I was not old enough to be an alcoholic. How cunning, baf- fling, and powerful! I know today that alcohol doesn’t care how old or young I am, it doesn’t care that I grew up in a great home, doesn’t care what kind of car I drive or don’t drive, doesn’t care what I do for a living. It just doesn’t care! I am so grateful for the fact that God knows me even when I don’t know myself. I was convinced that I was not old enough to be an alcoholic, so dur- ing my last stay in jail, God brought twowomenmyagetodoanH&I meeting for aa. I had already sur- rendered a few days into my stay. I knew I wanted to change, but I just wasn’t sure how that was going to happen. But I said those few little words that you hear a lot of us say once we are really ready ... God help me! and he did. Those women came in and told me about their drinking, and I related. They said they used to have to look out the window the next morning to see if their car was still there. I did that! They talked about waking up in the morning unsure of where they were or where they had been the night before. That was me! so that is where it all began for me. I got their number and the day after I got out of jail I went to my first aa meeting. I cried as I got my desire chip and said, “My name is Talia and I am an alcoholic.” I was filled with an amount of gratitude that I can- not even put into words. I had finally found something at last that gave me a sliver of hope that everything was Alcohol Knows no Borders 14 January 2012 GRAPE_12-15.indd 14 11/22/11 2:39 PM