I sat at my kitchen table. I felt sorry for myself. I was fat, alcoholic, and a two-and-a-half pack a day smoker. My wife had left me. My elderly mother sat in the den gazing mindlessly at our TV set. I had two cats, a truck, and a thankless construction job, running heavy equipment. I was 53 years old. I hated what I saw in the mirror, so I avoided looking at myself. Was this all that was left for me, after a life of hard work?
I cleaned up, and decided to go out. I told my mom, I was going to an A.A. meeting. As usual, I made sure she was well-fed, and spent some time with her, so she didn't feel abandoned by me. I kissed her on the cheek, fed the cats, petted them, and then rambled off in my Dodge Ram to the local tavern. I ordered double scotches, knocking them back quickly to get the job done. The bar stunk of disinfectant, smoke and urine. I was relieved to get drunk. Suddenly I felt the acid reflux, and hurried out the door. I fell down the tavern steps, and noticed I had gravel in the bleeding palms of my hands. I stumbled to the edge of the parking lot, and behind some trees, I threw up my dinner and all the alcohol. I went back in and started drinking again. Then I blacked out. The rest is a mystery to me, until I woke up in jail. The cell was dark. Sitting in the corner was a ghostly apparition of myself. Maybe these were what they call delerium tremors, I don't know. I could see the walls on the other side of the figure. He was transparent. He looked to be a sickly, thin, old man. He had a sickly pallor, and a shimmery aura. The color was a gray-blue. It surrounded him like a weird light...something like swamp gas...it was eerie. He looked at me with watery eyes and said: "I am your future, if you don't find the way." "You are going to die, young man, if you don't find the light." Before I could utter a response, the apparition disappeared. I sat upright on my cot, as if I was hit by a bolt of lightning.
I was in jail. This wasn't a dream. The next day when I made bond, I had my daughter take me to an alcoholic treatment hospital. I sobered up. After I was released, my wife came back to me. I had what they call in A.A., "a spiritual awakening".
My first day in rehab, when I was alone in my spartan room in the evening, I got on my knees and cried. I prayed to something I did not understand. I said: "I haven't prayed in a very long time, but I know this path I have taken is going to kill me...please help me!...show me the way!" At that moment, I felt as if a heavy weight was taken from my shoulders. Every day was a baby step toward a new life and a new view of the world. I went to an A.A. meeting every day for 90 days. I learned that all I have is today. I am grateful for every day, my higher power gives to me. I will be sober 7 years on May 9th, of 2010, God willing. I feel that I am a living miracle.
I do not regret my past, because it has given me compassion for others. I am still short in the humility department. On that, I work every day. I don't fear the future. I take care of my body and my mind. I love and am loved, by many people. I figured out a lot of things over these many 24 hour periods. I have regained my ability to read and write. The cloud of anguish, and confusion which enveloped me for 38 years has lifted. I thank God for my life every morning. I pray to be the best guy I can be, every day. I don't procrastinate about things anymore. I decided to become a man of action. I also decided to see more sunrises-and-sunsets, to smell more flowers, to pet more cats-and- dogs, and even enjoy snowy-and-rainy days. I try and dispell all negative thought from myself. Often I fail, but I try hard every day.
I say one prayer every day..."God grant me the serenity, to accept the things I cannot change...the courage to change the things I can...and the wisdom to know the difference." This prayer has given me strength in the toughest of times. I envision my God, as a guy with a bill cap, and a fishing pool in his hands. Hey!...Whatever works, eh? I don't fear the ghosts in my life anymore. After all, they are spectors of my imagination. I learn from them. Once I faced my fears, I learned how to set myself free.....Amen.