From the October 2011 magazine.

October 2011: The Sweet Smell of Whiskey

Our hope and love is deeper than any pint. Every day I will put actions behind my prayers.

My heart was broken last night. Visiting a little too long outside before finding a seat at my home group, I rushed inside. I was glad to see one fellow member there that I had missed seeing lately, and it was obvious that he was hurting. I automatically took my purse off the chair beside me and set it on the floor, then patted the seat to indicate that he could come sit by me. As soon as he sat down, I knew—whiskey. Whiskey had entered our meeting with my friend. Only the previous meeting, I had shared that the surefire way that I could experience overwhelming, sincere gratitude was to remember how I felt my last day drinking.

My friend held my hand, not wanting to let go as if his life depended on it. We share the common bond of a desperately hopeless disease. We realized we had worked in the same bar 20 years earlier. This summer he watched as I struggled to attend meetings without a voice as our group loved me through cancer and surgery. He told me he was amazed that I was doing it sober as he had had the same cancer and handled it the opposite way. So our bond was strong. It wasn't just smelling the whiskey or seeing him work so hard to quell the tears, or not falling out of his chair and somehow maintaining some dignity that hit me so hard. The reason I could barely hold together was the understanding of the incredible pain he was experiencing. It was his courage to attend a meeting and wanting sobriety without having it.

-- Nora B.

Little Rock, Arkansas

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