Magazine

From the August 2011 magazine.

August 2011: Slim to None

After several days in a cheap motel, he wasn't betting heavily on his chances for sobriety

"I did what any good drunk would do: I checked into a cheap motel and bought a bottle."

By the time I reached 60, I figured my chances at finding any real happiness or peace were slim to none. It was a matter of living with what I had created and waiting for the sand to pass through the hourglass.

I had just been asked to leave my home and was living in a motel, trying to regroup from a failed marriage and figure out my next move, when my old pal alcohol caught up with me. After a ten year stretch without him, he was right back in the driver’s seat, ruining my life again. I had stopped drinking to save my third marriage. Then, after convincing my spouse that it was “heart healthy,” I began enjoying the occasional glass of red wine with a meal. I made a classic mistake of the seasoned alcoholic: I had allowed a period of successful sobriety to fool me into thinking I was no longer an alcoholic and could now drink responsibly, like other people. My occasional glass of wine progressed to several glasses, sometimes on the train after work, sometimes at my local fraternal lodge. It wasn’t long before I was drinking in both places. One night, I arrived home in such a condition that I couldn’t get my key in the door. I was drunk and my wife knew it. The alcoholic was back. At that point, I was asked to leave.

-- John F.

Holbrook, New York

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