From the September 2011 magazine.

October 2011: Slip and Slide

This Australian kept getting drunk until he learned to love a new life

"My relapses were deliberate slides and not slips."

When I think of a “slip” it tends to bring to mind someone stepping on a banana peel or losing his grip while scaling a mountain. My relapses were deliberate slides and not slips. I was grudgingly staying sober to try to hang onto my job and eagerly waiting for opportunities to drink without messing that up. I recall hearing that the “first drink does the damage,” so I felt a bit relieved after having the first one, although it was disappointing, because I’d done the damage and might as well continue. This went on for about four months until I had my last drink in May 1974. Even then, I had no intention of staying sober on a lasting basis and was looking for a good excuse I could sell myself.

As things worked out, I grudgingly stayed sober long enough to get to like it. I also learned to think things through. If I was to have a drink, what would happen that night? The next day? The next week?

-- Jim F.

Tasmania, Australia

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