KICKING & SCREAMING


     Let me be clear from the beginning that I am referred to by many in our fellowship as a "walk on" but in truth I was a "drag on",  kicking & screaming.  While I have not attended a formal treatment center I have learned much from just being around sober people who have attempted to explain, by example, and show me how to walk the walk.

      It all began back in my hometown of Wheeling, WV where my parents showed me how much fun drinking can be. Constant fights, arguing, dishes being thrown, falling down and throwing up!  I swore I would never be like them, but you know what happened, I was worse.   I found that alcohol could keep me insulated from the person I hated to be around-- myself.  When I drank I could for that brief period of time be someone else in my own mind and that was heartwarming to me.

      After college I joined the Air Force and became an instructor pilot in jets.  At that point it was almost mandatory to display your manhood by getting drunk regularly and I did.  After a five year stint with Uncle Sam which resulted miraculously in an honorable discharge I was hired by a major airline to fly their jets.  I had arrived at my dream job. Good pay and plenty of time off allowed me to fine tune my alcoholic drinking.  I met my dear friend Charlie S. who taught me the finer points of excessive drinking, blackouts and long periods of time missing in action from any decent kind of activity.  Unfortunately for Charlie, who was also a pilot, he became a little too obvious and was sent to treatment and I lost my best drinking buddy. That did not stop me as I found new drinking buddies.  My drinking continued and was getting worse by the day.  It was causing me problems at home and with friends who did not want to be with me in that condition. I was the poster child for a bad drunk.

      One day in 1984 around Mardi Gras I came home drunk again at 11 a.m. and thought that my friend Joe S. may have had the right idea. Joe was one of my last drinking buds because he drank like I did. Unfortunately for Joe he  retired to a motel in Jackson, Ms. with a loaded shot gun and a bottle of Scotch. The shot gun won and Joe took his life.  Drinking had taken me to the same point in my mind.  I knew I had a problem but did not believe there was any hope for me.  For some reason my wife did not share my ideas of suicide and she called my friend Charlie S. who had been sober for five years.  He gathered up a posse of my old drinking buds who had also found sobriety and they descended upon my home one afternoon while I was trying to recover from my latest binge.

     They surrounded me and insisted that I listen to them. They had an unofficial intervention on me and one of the biggest memories I have of that time was when my friends Charlie S,  Paul L. from Gulf Breeze, Florida and a couple of others advised me that they were offering me a life ring that would save me from drowning in alcohol but they would not return again if I chose not to grab the ring.  OK, I thought, I'll play the game until they're gone and then I can get back to normal.  Charlie was like a bull dog and he stayed next to me for the next five days, day and night, and he dragged me to five meetings in three states in three days and that started my journey into sobriety. He insisted that I get a temporary sponsor, do 90 meetings in 90 days, read the Big Book and learn to pray to a higher power.  That was the beginning of my transition from "hopeless" to "hopeful" and it came from a couple of recovering drunks and God.

     This all started on Mar 12, 1984 and I have been trying to follow some simple suggestions ever since and thanks to you and the grace of a loving God I have not found it necessary to pick up a drink.  I write this from the Int'l Convention in San Antonio, Texas and I continue to marvel at all the miracles that I get to see at these great events. I hope to continue my journey in sobriety and each day I am presented great evidence of the promises of AA coming true in my life.

      My wife & I will celebrate 48 years of marriage in December 2010 and she is a shining example of unconditional love.   I learn from her every day because I am now willing.  With God's help I hope to continue to enjoy  sobriety by living one day at a time & trying to live by the principles of love & service. 

      Bill B.


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