From the July 2011 magazine.

One Night at the Bar

A part-time job in a bar turned out to be the beginning of years of relapsing

I was driving around trying to find something to keep me from drinking that night when I noticed Gus, a fellow I worked with, walking along the sidewalk. Somehow I had heard that Gus didn't drink and went to AA. I offered him a ride and asked what he was doing that night. He told me he was going to an AA meeting and asked if I would like to go. I remember wondering why I'd want to go to an AA meeting, so I suggested taking in a movie or something instead, which he declined. As we drove on, thinking of my father's drinking problem, I said, "Maybe I could go and find some answers for my dad." I had no idea what I was asking for given that I had no real desire to stop drinking nor had I asked for help for myself. I just didn't want to drink that night.

He didn't suggest I attend Al-Anon, and I realized later that Gus had probably frequently observed the results of my drinking, either my hangovers in the morning or my performance at work after noon-hour drinking. In the Navy, having a drink or two with lunch was condoned, but returning to work showing the effects was not really accepted. Even though I didn't make a practice of going off the base to drink at noon, I have no idea how I performed after drinking at lunchtime when I did. Regardless, Gus must have thought I might have a problem and decided to "carry the message" to me.

-- Pete L.

Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada

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