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The Greatest Gift...The Promises
My story is one of amazing paths, all the way through...I believe I was born an alcoholic...it's the only explanation for the direction my life has taken.
My earliest memories of alcohol was sitting on my Dad's lap drinking. The foam off his beer can. I absolutely loved the camaraderie, sense of freedom, exhilaration, and unity I felt in our living room, hanging out with my Dad and his fellow Marines. Coming from a military family, we moved a lot. I was always the new kid on the block, which made me feel different than all the other kids. I would be the one in our family to venture out in search (always the little alcoholic searching) for a place for us to fit...my family (my parents and baby brother) were never grateful (imagine!!)
By the time I reached High School we moved to sunny Southern California...I thought I'd died and gone to heaven, everyone looked liked movie stars, and there were palm trees everywhere. I just knew I would soon get that movie contract (it hasn't happened yet!!)...my first drunk came shortly after. My new friends invited me to a place called "Zuma Beach"...we pooled our money and bought some ripple wine ($.33 per bottle in 1962 - a fine wine) and a keg of beer...I did what I was always going to do when I drank alcohol, I threw up, blacked out, passed out, and "came to" the next day with a horrible hangover...alcohol being the "rapacious creditor" it is it began to steal from me right away... I lost the trust of my family (I would lie when the truth was easier - a symptom of alcoholism), my High
School education (I could no longer sit still in those classrooms, waiting anxiously for the weekend when I could get that drink!!) and most precious of all, my innocence.
I was to go down a path a kid like me should never have to go down, but that's where alcohol took me...to drug addiction, prostitution, and institutions...I woke up in jails and nut houses wondering how I had come to this, not knowing that I had a debilitating disease that was also progressive. After each "jackpot" I would give myself that strong resolve that tomorrow I would get up earlier, try harder, “pull myself up by the bootstraps” and “cut the mustard” like my Dad always said I'd have to do to “make it in this jungle” only I never had the rearrangement of feelings, emotions, or thoughts necessary to make those changes and the “Power” I would need to carry out my plan. I would always end up at the bar or the connection one more time...
It wasn't until one day in 1977 when I was as hopeless as one could be, that through "Divine" intervention a profound change took place. I was living in a very depressed state of mind and body in San Jose (due to my many geographics) with my then 6 year old daughter. I kept seeing bumper stickers that said "I Found It." Needing to know what they had found, I called the number and found it was a group that had gotten together to get people back to church. When the little Christian guy on the phone asked me to say a prayer with him, I didn't have the heart to say no. He said I didn't have to believe it, or remember it, just repeat it after him. Because I am a "people pleaser", I agreed to do it. When I hung up I laid back down on the bed, as hopeless as ever...after all, I had tried God before. For Heaven sakes I'd lived in the south a lot as a child. I had been dunked, sprinkled and damn near drowned, and that hadn't worked. I had a big time resentment with God because every time I'd asked for help it didn't come my way, and I knew He didn't want anything to do with me, I had gone too far...I didn't know it at the time, but I had tapped into a Power so great that “IT” was about to do for me what I could never have done for myself. The obsession I had been “hooked” on from my earliest memory was about to be lifted.
Due a set of circumstances I can only call God, I reached my first Alcoholics Anonymous meeting on Sept. 23, 1977, and I have not had a drink, fix, pill, or any other mind altering chemicals since.
To say that things have changed for me is an understatement. Today, I’ve the greatest life one could possibly imagine....I’ve been married to the most kind, loving, and dynamic man I've ever known for over 27 years. My daughter, who wanted nothing to do with me when I got sober, now trusts me on a daily basis with her most precious gift, her son, my grandson. She has nineteen beautiful years of sobriety, and is married to my fantastic sober son-in-law who will be fourteen years sober in November. I also inherited three wonderful stepchildren. One is also sober fourteen and a half years and is a powerful force in our great fellowship. He and his wife (sober four years too) have been such an inspiration to us. They are expecting a baby in February - a true gift as they lost their first child during pregnancy. My other daughter gave us our first grandson who will be eighteen next week, a terrific young man with a big future... Last but not least, my other son is our resident "Normie" and tries hard to straighten us out (GOOD LUCK!!).
Through the willingness to take the steps, and good sponsorship (three beautiful sober women who died with long time sobriety, and my current sponsor with over thirty years) my life little resembles what was once a shambles...I made direct amends to my Dad and we became friends, and when he died there were no regrets as we were current...he knew I loved him. My mother is still living at 89 and depends on me daily to help her. She knows I love her too, and I'm always there for her...
My greatest gift are the Promises...they've all come true today. Some took 25 years, but like the book says, "sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, but ALWAYS if we work for them. I'm still seeking God today, but I know where to find Him...He's in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous where I learned that the God in me, salutes the God in you...one thing I know for sure is my name, and I am an alcoholic...God Bless you, and please keep coming back. We need you too....