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So,let's see, where do we begin.......

When I was a kid back in the 1940's,my parents thought it was ok to let me have a small glass of Muscatel wine to dunk Italian bread in and just eat the bread. It really tasted good and I never got high from it that I remember...............BUT................

I WAS ABOUT 15 YEARS OLD..........

As I remember it , a friend of mine asked me if my father made his own wine. I said,"Yes,He has a couple of wine barrels down in the basement where it's cool" He said"Can you get some?" "Of course",I said. and I got about a quart jar of it and we tasted it. And that was the first time I got drunk. After that it was a case of drinking on and off at parties until I went to the army in 1959 and found out you could drink beer under 21 in the army post.Then it was drinking beer any time we got off duty. It was the first time I ever had what was called a"ZOMBIE". That is a drink which has a shot of just about everything in an 8 ounce glass. I became a "ZOMBIE" after that drink cus I didn't remember anything after that drink. I started drinking rum and coke instead of beer after that cus I liked the taste.

As time went on, I got married and started a family and had 4 nice kids. The problem was I would drink before I got home from work and find a way to go out after dinner and drink some more. My wife put up with this for 17 years until one time ,she said I needed to go to a re-hab. And between the two,her sister and my wife,I was talked into it. Only problem was they put me in a psychiatric ward. Back in the 70's,I guess they thought it was a mental desease. Well,I wound up going bach to the ward three different times and never got sober.

BUT!!! A funny thing happened during those 3 times..... At the hospital,A chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous was holding a meeting once a week. At the beginning of each meeting ,a ticket was given out to each of the people attending. It was for a door prize and the prize was a copy of the Alcoholics Anonymous Twelve Step Book. At the end of the meeting ,the numbers of the tickets were put in a hat and a number called out.At my first meeting I WAS THE WINNER!!! The next week They pulled the number and I WON AGAIN!!! The third week I was discharged from the hospital,but my son and I went together to the meeting and I already had told everyone how I had won the books twice in a row. You won't believe this,BUT,I WON for the third time in a row...!!! I did read that book a lot those first weeks and I did stop drinking for a while. I knew GOD was watching me, but I didn't get the message. So we all know what happened next don't we?

YUP, drinking again,only this time ,my wife gave up and told me to not come back home from the hospital. So I rented a small motel room and kept on drinking. We wound up getting a divorce and guess what,I kept on drinking,only this time I didn't have anyone to stop me.

Then I met my 2nd wife and the same thing went on with her until one time,I got so drunk one day, I went to work just to pick up my pay-check and I was going to get on a plane and go visit my son in California(2000 miles away). As I was waiting for my check ,my friend,a Union steward came to me and asked if he could talk to me about going to a re-habilitation center before I went. I said, "O.K.!" and told him I'd meet him a the bar up the street.

Well,I went and was drinking double whiskeys and waiting. After about 5 or 6 doubles,I said, "Enough,I'm going to California" and went to the street to hail a Taxi. A little problem though, no Taxi's would stop!! So I went back and had another double. Fortified again,I went to get a Taxi again...same thing,no one would stop. So I thought,"I'll call one!" Only by now I can't see the numbers on the phone. So I sat down and guess who show up right then?, my friend,the Union steward! That was when I said ,"I give up,Take me!" and he took me to a hospital that had a AA re-hab, and not a psychiatric place. I stayed there for a few days ,but it wasn't taking on me and I wanted to be closer to home so I could get my wife to visit. That's when they suggested a re-hab closer and I went there.

There I met people from work that also had a drinking problem.I didn't know them then,but we got to be friends.

At this Re-hab,it seemed very different fron any other re-hab I had been in. At this one all of the staff were recovering alcoholics and recovering drug addicts. Even the doctor was a recovering alcoholic,and the doctor showed me what alcohol was doing to my brain! He showed me how the cell walls of your brain are weakened and the alcohol causes the brain to create a substance between the cells that makes you desire,no,creates an obsession,that no amount of will power could over-come. A sort of chemical reaction. A CRAVING!!!

Another thing is the ups and downs of alcohol and drugs. How it works is something like this. If you were not drinking at all you would have a life line like this nice and straight--------------------------------------------------------------no dips or spikes. When you drink,you get high^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ and then you stop,usually for sleep. Of coure, you go to bed but can't sleep in the beginning,so you get up and have a few more drinks,and worry if someone is after you and you are afraid to go to sleep,but the body must sleep so you finally drift off. Then you go down from no more alcohol.........vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv And you wake up and that's when you need a drink to get back to normal.................... Usually you shake so bad trying to get that first drink down you spill it. But after 1-2 drinks, you feel back to normal. Then it starts all over again,after a while your craving starts,your whole insides shake and quiver and quake and you need to put more alcohol back in to make it stop. and on and on and on!!!

Well that's what they showed me and said I needed to give up my will to GOD,to stop trying to control everything,to let GOD take over my life and make the big decisions, to let GOD guide me what to do, and I could stop drinking. Also there are 12 steps you should follow. The heart of the suggested program of personal recovery is contained in Twelve Steps describing the experience of the earliest members of the Society:

1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings. 8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs And here is where what they call "A higher Power" comes in.. You don't have to believe in GOD, All you have to do is to agree that YOU have no power over alcohol, and that there is someone or something out there who can do it for you. You have to say "I give up,I have no power over alcohol or drugs.I ask GOD to take over for me and take away the desire to drink or do drugs."

That's what I did back in 1986 and with the knowledge that I have an obsession with alcohol and I cannot control it,I can truly say, since I agreed to to give up my will to GOD,I have NOT HAD THE NEED OR DESIRE for a drink for over 19 years!!!

ANOTHER THING!!!! That's the story you read about in the news,that the person had not had a drink in a long time and they take a drink,then the disease takes over and they really and literally drink themselves to death in a few days!!!

I pray to my Higher Power every night before I go to sleep and thank my Higher Power for keeping me sober for the last 24 hours and to please keep me sober for another 24 hours.

.........a friend