Posted in Sharing

Drunks

We died of pneumonia in furnished rooms where they found us three days later when somebody complained about the smell.

We died against bridge abutments and nobody knew if it was suicide and we probably didn’t know either except in the sense that it was always suicide.

We died in hospitals, our stomachs huge, distended and there was nothing they could do.

We died in cells, never knowing whether we were guilty or not.

We went to priests, they gave us pledges, they told us to pray, they told us to go and sin no more, but go. We tried and we died.

We died of overdoses, we died in bed (but usually not the Big Bed)

We died in straitjackets, in the DT’s seeing God knows what, creeping skittering slithering shuffling things.

And you know what the worst thing was? The worst thing was that nobody ever believed how hard we tried.

We went to doctors and they gave us stuff to take that would make us sick when we drank on the principle of so crazy, it just might work, I guess, or maybe they just shook their heads and sent us to places like Dropkick Murphy’s.

And when we got out we were hooked on paraldehyde or maybe we lied to the doctors and they told us not to drink so much, just drink like me. And we tried, and we died.

We drowned in our own vomit or choked on it, our broken jaws wired shut. We died playing Russian roulette and people thought we’d lost, but we knew better.

We died under the hoofs of horses, under the wheels of vehicles, under the knives and boot heels of our brother drunks.

We died in shame.

And you know what was even worse, was that we couldn’t believe it ourselves, that we had tried.

We figured we just thought we tried and we died believing that we hadn’t tried, believing that we didn’t know what it meant to try.

When we were desperate enough or hopeful or deluded or embattled enough to go for help we went to people with letters after their names and prayed that they might have read the right books that had the right words in them, never suspecting the terrifying truth, that the right words, as simple as they were, had not been written yet.

We died falling off girders on high buildings, because of course ironworkers drink, of course they do.

We died with a shotgun in our mouth, or jumping off a bridge, and everybody knew it was suicide.

We died under the Southeast Expressway, with our hands tied behind us and a bullet in the back of our head, because this time the people that we disappointed were the wrong people.

We died in convulsions, or of “insult to the brain”, we died incontinent, and in disgrace, abandoned .

If we were women, we died degraded, because women have so much more to live up to.

We tried and we died and nobody cried. And the very worst thing was that for every one of us that died, there were another hundred of us, or another thousand, who wished that we could die, who went to sleep praying we would not have to wake up because what we were enduring was intolerable and we knew in our hearts it wasn’t ever gonna change.

One day in a hospital room in New York City, one of us had what the books call a transforming spiritual experience, and he said to himself “I’ve got it .” (no, you haven’t you’ve only got part of it) ” and I have to share it.” (now you’ve ALMOST got it) and he kept trying to give it away, but we couldn’t hear it. We tried and we died.

We died of one last cigarette, the comfort of its glowing in the dark. We passed out and the bed caught fire. They said we suffocated before our body burned, they said we never felt a thing , that was the best way maybe that we died, except sometimes we took our family with us.

And the man in New York was so sure he had it, he tried to love us into sobriety, but that didn’t work either, love confuses drunks and he tried and we still died.

One after another we got his hopes up and we broke his heart,
Because that’s what we do.

And the worst thing was that every time we thought we knew what the worst thing was something happened that was worse.

Until a day came in a hotel lobby and it wasn’t in Rome, or Jerusalem, Or Mecca or even Dublin, or South Boston, it was in Akron, Ohio, for Christ’s sake.

A day came when the man said I have to find a drunk because I need him As much as he needs me (NOW you’ve got it).

And the transmission line, after all those years, was open, the transmission line was open. And now we don’t go to priests, and we don’t go to doctors and people with letters after their names.

We come to people who have been there, we come to each other. We come to try and we don’t have to die………

Jack M.

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When “Yet” Becomes “Now”

He told himself it was ok, to have a bit of fun
He could stop at any time, just now he was not done
He drank more than his friends at times, did things he would regret
Sometimes he thought of stopping, but he wasn’t quite there yet

His first exposure to the law was from a DUI
While driving home one evening, no doubt that he was high
He came upon a traffic check, was motioned to pull over
It ended in a room that night, an eight-by-eight enclosure

Was just bad luck that got him there, he tried to justify
The reason he was in this mess; misfortune his reply
Had he drove home another way this would not have occurred
Denying drinking was the cause, the only voice he heard

He lost his license for a year and had to do without
Rely on friends or call a cab, it made him want to shout
Mostly he would stay at home with nothing much to do
So, he turned to the bottle, have himself a drink or two

Before long two turned into three, consumption was increasing
Take uber to the liquor store, desire never ceasing
But once he got his license back, he’d quit for sure, he thought
When that day came sobriety was the last thing that he sought

When I must drive, I will not drink, he made himself a promise
It was not long before this vow was totally demolished
The same routine he had before was playing out again
He wrecked the car, was badly hurt, took months for him to mend

He knew he’d lost control, he felt he had to find a way
To moderate the way he drank, he’d heard about AA
Perhaps those folks could show him how to manage how he drank
Education was his need, an alcohol think tank

But when he went into the rooms, he got a big surprise
They said that he could never drink, there was no compromise
That’s not what he had bargained for, this place he’d soon forget
These folks were truly hard-core drunks, he was not that bad yet

As always does, things just got worse, the bottle was his master
Lost his job, lost his home, his life was a disaster
The ending of his story was played out in a motel
With empty bottles all around, the sound a lonely knell

Most of us had been like him, it’s easy to forget
How many times we told ourselves that “we’re not that bad yet”
Us lucky ones, fore it’s too late, had found the will somehow
To realize the time had come and YET had become NOW

Larry R.

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The Twelve Steps to a Slip

PERSONS who attain sobriety through the A.A. principles, do so only after a thoughtful application of the 12 Suggested Steps to recovery. They happily find themselves on a level plateau of sanity after ascending these steps, one after another, and they maintain their sobriety by a continuing application of these same steps.

Those unfortunates who lose their sobriety are said to be having a “slip”. I believe this is a misnomer, for it suggests only a momentary adversity that unexpectedly pounces on its unwary victim. A more apt term would be a “glissade,” for a slip is the result of a gradual process, beginning long before its logical termination, and progressing through a series of wrong steps, to a drink, and for us, a drunk.

A slip cannot be said to occur only when it culminates in a drink, for many of us, in our failure to apply the 12 Steps to our living, frequently have slips, which are none the less slips merely because we do not slip as far as a drink.

As one must ascend the 12 Steps gradually, I feel the “slip” is the result of unconsciously descending these Steps. And as descending steps is always accompanied with less effort than ascending them, the steps soon assume the behavior of an escalator.

As the “bottom” is reached it invariably results in taking that “one drink,” which leads, for us, only to all the remorse, terror and unhappiness that follows a binge.

These, then, are in my opinion the “12 Steps to a slip,” and are the direct result of failure to consciously apply to our lives the 12 Suggested Steps to recovery:

  1. We neglect 12th Step work.
  2. We omit contact with the Higher Power.
  3. We forget personal inventory.
  4. We assume grudges against others.
  5. We miss A.A. meetings, and avoid A.A. friends.
  6. We gradually lose humility.
  7. We fall into self pity.
  8. We worry about unalterables.
  9. Our thinkin’ really starts stinkin’.
  10. We become “cocky” and overconfident.
  11. We neglect to ask help from the Higher Power, and take “just one.”
  12. We become a “social drinker.” (Temporarily.)

R. H. Dunkirk, Indiana
Jan. 1949, Grapevine