From the July 2012 magazine.

July 2012: Both Sides of the Fence

One's in, one's out -- but both share the same solution

Man Inside

I took my first drink of beer at the age of 3. My mother was in a relationship with the man who became my stepfather. He was an alcoholic who drank nothing but high-proof bourbon. I grew up around this life and, at the age of 9, I was stealing alcohol from my stepfather. By the time I was 11 he didn't care, and we would get drunk together. My whole family is alcoholic and I thought I was an alcoholic because of where I came from. Even though I was only a child, I was drinking like an adult. It made me feel part of what was going on.

As I grew older, my problems got worse. I got my first DWI at age 17. My response was, "The cops got lucky because I've been drinking anddriving for years" and "They won't get me again." I never thought about the peoples' lives I put in danger, much less mine. I was in and out of jail for different reasons. Getting help for my alcoholism and drug addiction never occurred to me because my attitude was that the others were the ones who needed help, not me. I was an outlaw—wild and out of control. I had become what I had seen as a child—an alcoholic.

-- Christian & Pat A.

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