Grapevine Online Exclusive

Published February 2012.

Web Exclusive: The Story is the Same

Seeing a young man drunkenly stumble into his halfway house reminded him that we have a common story and a common solution

I had checked in to the halfway house a few weeks earlier. I have advanced degrees and several professional licenses. I had a 30-year career. Alcohol had taken it all away. I couldn't work in my field. My family who dearly loved me couldn't tolerate my self-destruction any longer. My decision to go to the halfway house came when my wife of 30 years told me, "I love you too much to see you struggle so hard ... you have to leave." Now, I was homeless too. She didn't say it in a fit of rage. In fact, it was her calm, almost loving, tone when she said it that struck me. I had made a mess of things and needed help.

I had been at the house a few weeks. It was spring and I was at the Monday night house meeting. Eight men and a counselor, in a large turn-of-the-century house, in a not-so-good part of town, were reviewing the weekly house business. I sat in the large room and looked through the glass double doors into the dining room. Through the front door, tumbled a very drunk man in his mid-thirties. I watched through the glass panes as those with a few more months of soberiety tended to him. My house meeting went on unaware of what was happening in the next room.

-- Doug A.

Knoxville, Tennessee

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