From the March 2014 magazine.

March 2014: East of the Red River

An alcoholic discovers you can sink a lot lower than living under a bridge

Before I made it to AA I had one purpose: to get the next drink. I was scared to live and afraid to die. I would ask God at night to take me in my sleep, only to wake in the morning when the pain would start all over again, day in and day out. I had to drink; I had no way to stop it. I thought I was insane and just wanted life to end. I did not care whom I stepped on—or over—to get a drink. As a matter of fact, I crawled over a dead body to get my last one. I was 23 years old.

I was living on the east side of the Red River in Winnipeg, under the Redwood Bridge. And the reason I was on the east side is because the alcoholics were on the west side. I knew I was not an alcoholic—I was insane. One day my partner came down under the bridge carrying a bottle of cleaning fluid. He mixed it up and started drinking it. He would not share it with me. He took about four or five good shots and down he went, the blood coming out of his mouth and nose. And did I go get some help? Did I flag down a car? Did I phone 911? No, I crawled over his body and proceeded to drink the very stuff that had just killed him.

-- L.L.

Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada

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