From the September 2014 magazine.

20 Golden Years

Some men get a gold watch when they retire. He got a whole new life

On April 2, 1989 I checked myself into the emergency ward at our local hospital. It was the third time in six weeks that I was there for the same thing: I couldn’t detox myself and needed the hospital to help me. Here I was, 56 years old and thinking my life a failure. This time was different though. One of the doctors attending had seen me come in before, and this time he was ready for me. He knew that I had a drinking problem and had already made arrangements to get me into treatment.

I can still remember the feeling when he told me what he’d done. Although I was going through withdrawal, I had the most overwhelming sense of relief that I have ever experienced. I knew that I couldn’t keep on drinking. Here for the first time was hope. I didn’t know it yet, but I was starting the trip of a lifetime.

-- Pete J.

Doylestown, Pennsylvania

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