Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Reaching for Recovery (Putting Down the Drink) Part 5

The story of how I finally accepted my alcohol problem was a spiritual one. I had finally realized I had a problem with alcohol once my partner left me. I stopped drinking cold turkey for a long weekend during which he had come back to visit. What I hadn't realized was that I would need help in order to stay sober.

After my partner left, I went to the refrigerator to get some leftovers to warm up. I had promised myself that I wouldn't drink, but I saw a single Budweiser bottle and I thought to myself that one beer wouldn't hurt. That beer took the edge off. That's when I spotted the leftover bottle of gin which I thought I might as well drink as long as I was quitting booze.

The thing is, I wanted more and I started to feel desperate. I didn't think I had any other alcohol in the house. Then I remembered a bottle of Tequila that someone had had the nerve to give us after a trip to Mexico. I hated Tequila, but I thought it might be tasty mixed with Lemonade; so I proceeded to drink the entire contents.

As I was drinking, I started to become melancholy; and, for some reason, I decided to call my partner's former lover who was then living in Atlanta. He was very patient and kind as I proceeded with a drunken apology for having stolen his lover some eight years ago. He told me that he forgave me and that I didn't need to beat myself up. I couldn't understand what he was talking about, but the tone of his voice and his forgiving attitude was very soothing to me.

Perhaps I was aware that he was in recovery from alcohol abuse, though it didn't enter my conscious mind at that point; however, some time later in the conversation, he asked me if I wanted help. Instead of angrily reacting with an “F---You!” I cried out, “Yes!” as I broke into sobs.

Then, somehow, all the way from Atlanta, this dear man got help to me from a local Alcoholics Anonymous clubhouse. Sometime before midnight, two fellows from AA showed up on my doorstep. They took me, wearing my leftover food on my sweater, to the clubhouse where several other members had stayed long after the last meeting of the day to help this drunk.

I don't remember what they said to me, but I do remember the kindness they demonstrated as they talked with me over coffee. I also realized that they knew the kind of personal hell I'd been going through and they held out the hope I desperately needed. I was given a schedule of AA meetings and I was driven home. The next morning I awoke with a hangover and called into work requesting a sick day. Then I went back to that same clubhouse at 7AM for my first AA meeting.

God was with me through that day - April 6, 1988. I ran into an old friend who came home with me and showed me the affection I desperately needed at that point. I stopped by my parents' home for a visit. They had been very concerned since I'd called them the previous night, in my drunken state, to tell them I was being taken to Alcoholics Anonymous. I went from their home to a session with my psychotherapist. Then I followed that up with my first gay AA meeting. There was so much love there among those courageous people who held out more hope for me. I realized I was finally home.

Author Davis Aujourd'hui

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