From the April 2012 magazine.

April 2012: Drowning in Red Wine

A woman reaches out to a friend she's never met—but knows too well

In 1986, at 25, I stopped drinking alcohol. My father had already died by then, at 56, from acute alcoholism, so I was no stranger to addiction. I’d seen it firsthand. I’d seen the car accidents and subsequent hospital stays, the falling down and the inevitable broken limbs, the stumbling up Main Street in smalltown Maine, and the arrests. I’d seen the loss of control of body and faculties, the rage, the self-hatred, the drunk tanks. I’d seen the soul sickness, the shame, the death and the wreckage. I’d seen a good, good man utterly ruined. Ultimately my father passed away from organ failure and cirrhosis of the liver. I was with him when he died. I will always be grateful for that. 

In 1986, it was my turn. I’d only been drinking for seven years. At 25, I was young and cute, and no one I drank with thought I had a problem. But I knew I was in trouble. Rehabs weren’t fashionable, but even had I known rehab was an option, I couldn’t have afforded it. The only other option was Alcoholics Anonymous, which was for men, or so I thought. 

-- Denise K.

Groton, Massachusetts

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