Grapevine Online Exclusive

Published July 2014.

Later in Life

She thought she was different from others, but came to see that she was just a garden variety alcoholic

When I sobered up at the age of 51, I certainly didn't think of it as later in life. Had I been asked, I would have probably said, somewhat illogically, that 51 was more or less the midpoint of life. That wasn't impossible as I did have an ancestor who had lived to be over 100, but it wasn't likely. Nor at my present age of 75, do I really want to live another quarter of a century.

I finally claimed my chair at the tables of Alcoholics Anonymous after 18 years of bouncing in and out of the rooms. I've always been the youngest—in my family and among my friends. I got a late start at drinking around 26, so I tended to feel less experienced as a drinker. I still had a lot of yets. While that didn't make me any less of an alcoholic, it did fuel my denial.

-- Betty L.

Fitchburg, Wisconsin

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