The Ruins (More Memories from The Lost Years – My Story Continued)

I don’t enjoy most of the writing of my story. I’m trying to be as thorough as possible, because I think that will help me most in using this blog as a tool of sobriety. This is like a super maxi mega “lead,” or telling of my story. Where I live now, leads are usually around 45 minutes long. Where I came from, they were 15 or 20 minutes. At my home group meeting, we use the shorter format, and it’s interesting how people often comment that they’d like to hear the long version of the story of the speaker.

I see the telling of stories as one of the essential aspect of Alcoholics Anonymous. From my limited understanding, at different times during the founding of the fellowship, it was found to be so. Apparently hearing someone tell the story of their active addiction and subsequent sobriety reaches struggling alcoholics like few other methods can. I’ve also found, for myself, that telling my story keeps me engaged in a way nothing else does. The thought that I could possibly say something to turn the key for someone else is amazing, but how many times have I heard someone at a meeting say that is was some little something they heard at a meeting that started their path toward willingness? Lots.

Since I’ve no time limit here but the length of my life and desire to do this, I’m trying to write down as much as I possibly can. This process and this story will end with the present sometime if I continue this way. Most of it is unpleasant to remember and record, like the things that follow. It reminds me of a few lines from a Melissa Etheridge song, “I will crawl through my past, over stones, blood and glass, in the ruins … reaching under the fence as I try to make sense, in the ruins.”

The part of the story I last recounted ended with my first and so far only hospitalization for alcohol abuse. It would be very fine to say that that did it for me, but it did not. I drank after that, I don’t remember how long after that. I don’t remember which things came first or second or third. I don’t remember much from all those years until my last drunk.

I remember the guy I was seeing telling me that he found me passed out, laying across the back seat of his car, my clothes all messed up. I remember drinking at a bar, something I had never done before, just to try a different kind of drinking that might possibly work for me, and just to be around people. That in itself is a drastic sign, since I’m much more of an idolater than a lonely type. I remember walking through the parking lot after the bar, and being so drunk I fell down. I remember two strange men in the parking lot asked me if I was OK, and if I’d had too much to drink. That fall broke the mirror on my mirrored key chain, and I kept that for many years, to remind me. I got in the car and drove after that fall.

I remember one time when my mother was away and a friend from AA visited me. He sat in the living room, and I decided to drink. I didn’t have any alcohol, and I couldn’t go get it with him there. There was an anciet bottle of Molson Golden beer in the refrigerator. It had literally been there for years. I snuck the bottle up to my room, and saw that it needed a bottle opener. I had never used one. I searched the kitchen for one, all the while telling him – I don’t know what I told him. I didn’t find one, and went back up to the bottle.

The counter in my bathroom was made of fiber glass. I whacked the bottle’s neck on it, but it seemed unlikely to work, or like it would shatter the bottle and spill the beer. So I opened the bottle with my teeth.

It wasn’t until I was sober in AA and told people about this that I realized how dangerous that was. I could have ruined my teeth. Someone told me that the toughest guy in the bar would sometimes try that, but usually he was too smart to try it. It is something I have to remember, as proof of my desperation. Here I sit, typing this story, the same person who was so very desperate for that small quantity of beer (I’d buy more later, after my friend left). I don’t need it now, I don’t want it now. I have the power to abstain, as long as I remember that I’m powerless.

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