Before Sobriety (Story #1) – Anonymous_Mar 2019

I first experimented with alcohol at twelve years of age. One hot summer day, my dad gave me a beer at Dummer’s Beach. I didn’t like it at all. But, I do remember how it made me feel. I knew that big people drank alcohol. For the first time in my life, I felt like a big person. I began seeking out alcohol wherever I could.
Then, in the mid-60s, along came a man named Timothy Leary who showed us how to see in Technicolor without buying a ticket. I began to drink less and smoke marijuana more. By this time, my idea of a mixed drink was a beer and LSD. In high school I had lettered four times. Then I dropped out of the band, quit the golf, basketball and football teams in search of “higher” pursuits. Dropping out would become a habit. After high school I enrolled in University of Maine where I promptly got in trouble. The Dean of Students literally made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. I dropped out before they could kick me out.
In the spring of 1971, I left my family behind and moved from Maine to New York. I was nineteen years old and living on State Street in Albany, New York. I found myself living on the street; after all, that’s where all the “cool” people lived. Two years after I got sober, I found out that I was on skid row and didn’t even know it. State Street was a long hill. At the bottom of the hill was a grey federal building with a sign out front saying, “Uncle Sam wants You.” That was the nicest thing anyone had said to me that year. I enlisted in the Air Force. I survived the DTs in boot camp. As it turns out, they don’t let you drink in boot camp. I managed to graduate technical school and was assigned to a special operations unit at England Air Force Base in Louisiana.
In Louisiana I met the love of my life and asked her to marry me. I think I would have married her, had I only showed up at the wedding. I was deployed to Camp Friendship in Thailand at the time. While in Thailand, I discovered that heroin was cheaper than booze. As a poor E2, I did the economic thing. For the entire time I was in Thailand I didn’t touch a drop of alcohol. I was able to stay sober by ingesting small quantities of heroin on a daily basis. I am still recovering bits and pieces of my memory of 1973.
When I returned to the United States I discovered heroin was too expensive. I had to quit. I was able to quit by drinking alcohol. Thus, I found heroin was a gateway drug for alcohol. In 1974, I was arrested for possession of marijuana with intent to sell. The charges were dropped because they lost the evidence. It should be noted that while in jail we were smoking marijuana that tasted strangely like our own stash. I swore off all illegal drugs that day. I just didn’t realize how much alcohol I’d have to drink to keep that promise.
In 1976, my commander recommended I go to treatment and AA. I was able to stay sober for six months. I would drink again, but this time with guilt. I knew I had a problem and that there was a solution, but I drank anyway. I couldn’t have been more miserable. In 1978, I got a DUI. I was almost relieved. My two year slip had beaten me into a state of reasonableness. This time I was ready to listen, ready to follow instructions and ready to pray.
– Anonymous

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