No. of Recommendations: 4
About mid-morning on the 17th of August in 1987 I came to (I had stopped falling asleep and waking up and morphed into passing out and coming to many years before) lying in a semi fetal position on my living room carpet. I was lying in my own blood-stained puke, was bleeding from several other parts of my body, it was a Monday morning and I had no job and my wallet was empty of any cash. None of this was new or extraordinary to me.

The last thing I remembered was buying a bottle of vodka, a case of beer and putting the vodka in the freezer when I got home. That had been on the way home from being fired from my latest job on Thursday. I could not then, and still do not remember the anything at all about the intervening time period.

I was hung-over, I was severely distraught of what a mess I had made of my life, I had all kinds of half-thoughts/memories of some of the worst things I had done in my blackouts running randomly through my head.....and this was nothing new either.

The only reason I woke on a carpeted floor was because my parents had paid for a single-wide mobile home rental for me so that I wasn't homeless.....but I was already a week behind on the rent and virtually unemployable. I was in Spring Hill, FL.

What was different was that I went to the phone book yellow pages and looked up and called every alcoholism treatment facility listed.....I wanted to die but couldn't and my life was hell and kept getting soon as those who answered discovered I was uninsured and unemployed, they took my number and said someone would call me. Only one did, someone from a well known 12 Step program. It was about 1pm and I had cracked open one of the three beers I found in the 'fridge when the call came in.

The gentleman asked if I wanted to stop drinking. The question cracked open the dyke of walled off pain and I started sobbing. I managed to get out an answer that I was drinking a beer right at the moment and he asked if I could stop drinking it? I got up, went to the sink and poured it out.

He asked if I wanted to attend a meeting that night (back then there were not a lot of meetings per week in the town I was in but the month before a couple of old-timers had bought an older double wide and opened what is known as an "A" club).....I said that I would like to go but that I had no gas in the car and wasn't sure it would run if I did have any. He said someone would come and pick me up if I wanted and I told him I couldn't afford anything like that, to which he replied there was no cost.....and then said something even stranger to me at that time....that picking me up would help him stay sober! I gave him my address, he asked me to try not to drink any more that day and to be ready by 7:30pm.

I did not drink and I was sitting on the metal stairs at 7:30pm and saw a vehicle go slowly past, then turn around at the end of the street and come back. [Many years later one of the two guys said that they had a discussion at the end of that street about whether they wanted to pick me up....I was that bad looking....but the Principles of the program won out] and they stopped in front of the trailer and picked me up. To paint the picture, I was 6 foot tall and about 190 lbs, had a beard up to my eyes and down to mid-chest, shoulder-length hair, bib overalls, a Greek fisherman's cap and looked like a whole lot of bad road.

To back track a bit.....5 years earlier, in Casper, WY I had admitted myself into the hospital for treatment for alcoholism the morning after I had come to several hours earlier in the middle of a blackout with the woman I lived with bent over backward over the kitchen stove and my right hand around her throat. In the hospital I was treated for malnutrition and went to group meetings. A doctor told me about a drug called antabuse which would make me very sick if I drank while taking it and asked if I wanted to take it? I agreed.

After release from the hospital back then, I went to local 12 Step meetings. But I was a rabid atheist on my worst days and an agnostic on my best. It seemed to me that the Program was just a back door way of getting me to believe in I stopped going.

Coincident with that was the constant craving for alcohol.....and I mean constant. So, after several weeks of holding out, I stopped the antabuse and waited the required 3 days for it to get out of my system then went to a bar that had a two-for-one Happy hour, had at least 20 rum and cokes in an hour and a half and then went drinking.

After coming to from that particular episode I was convinced of two things: I was an alcoholic and that the 12 Step program didn't work for me. Thus began the worst 5 years of my life (and for those who have read some of my story over the years, that is saying something).

End of back track.....

The two guys talked to me and took me to a meeting that had about 25 or 30 people of all ages and walks of life. I introduced myself as an alcoholic and then the walls came tumbling down and the pain just expressed itself in uncontrollable sobbing......I don't remember much else from that night except that when I said I was an atheist, I was told to then believe in the group of drunks that were doing together what none could do alone....not drinking a day at a time; and that a woman came up to me and hugged me and said: "Let us love you until you can love yourself" [I find myself tearing up now with the memory of that]

They told me that if I would follow the Steps, in order, and cling to the Program like a drowning man to a life preserver, and if my butt fell off to pick it up and bring it to a meeting that maybe my life wouldn't get better but that I would. They also told me about the promises:

If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are halfway through.
We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.
We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
We will comprehend the word serenity, and we will know peace.
No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.
That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.
We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.
Self-seeking will slip away.
Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.
Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.
We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.
We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

I followed the directions, clung to the Program fiercely, and walked the walk. It started that night when I got home....I emptied the remaining two beers into the sink, went back to the bedroom and, for the first time in decades I hit my knees. I said "God....I don't know if you're there or, if you are, if you care. But if you are, and if you do, then I need help. I can't go through the craving that I had last time".....I cannot explain it to this day, but in that moment the craving was gone and it has not returned. I have not progressed much in my understanding of God, in fact every time I've gone into an organized religion service I have walked out an atheist.....But what guides me is what one old-timer told me early in my recovery when I expressed my problems with trying to believe in God....."Poz.....the only thing you need to know about that you aint Him!"....Man, do I love the tough love in the rooms!

Tonight I'm having dinner with my wife who has 29 years, my pigeon (a person I sponsored) who has 27 years and my other friend who has 22 years.....we are all celebrating my 30th anniversary of being sober.

What comes next? 30 years and a day.....and the promises are still unfolding in my life.

If the people who knew me 31 years ago met the people who know me now and shared their respective versions of Poz, I don't know which group would be more incredulous......well yes I would be the ones from 31 years ago for those who know me and know I'm in recovery all have their own amazing journeys as well.

If I could do it, anyone can!
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