Dereliction became a state of mind.
There was insanity – picking excuses to drink by picking fights, the decision that I didn’t need an excuse to drink. There was fear when the telephone rang and fear when it didn’t ring. There was crossing the street to avoid the imagined stares of strangers. There was fear of solitude and fear of company. There were blackouts. There was physical illness murderous hangovers, vomiting, shakes, cramps, nervous twitches, chest pains, blood in the urine. There were screams and moans in the night from dreams too terrible to remember. There was the taste and smell of bile. There was me doing my bit to improve the labour market – everywhere I went I created a “position vacant”.
In short, there was alcoholism – the affliction that killed me by the gulp, the affliction that numbed the senses and sensibilities, the affliction that twisted me physically, mentally, and spiritually.
For years there had been a personal knowledge of the problem – but there had been no acceptance of the truth that no matter how much I tried I’d never get my drinking “right”. Practice didn’t make perfect.
I came to AA a loser – and learned that I could start to win back a place in the world by admitting that I was powerless over alcohol and that my life had become unmanageable.
The admission closed the chasm between knowledge and acceptance. The chasm had, for fourteen years, been my bar to a personal journey of discovery and recovery. The admission was my entrance fee to a fellowship, my ticket to a forgotten place called sanity.