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Alcohol had robbed him of his life until he found AA

The oldest of four boys, I experimented with drugs and alcohol by age 13. Growing up as an Italian-Catholic, the norm was a life of drinking. My parents and all their friends drank, and I attended many parties offering to help "clean up" for the grown-ups.

We moved several times as a result of dad's work, so I tended to make fast friends wherever we went. By the time I hit high school we had moved to Jacksonville and I had a group of friends who liked to party, like me. I was a daily "partier" looking to change the way I felt; even if I felt good. My role model was my father, who avoided conflict like the plague! If my mother would confront him, he would pacify her and stuff his feelings, never really telling her how he felt. Consequently, I never learned how to be honest with myself and my feelings. I don't fault him; his dad died when he was just 18 so he never had a male role model.

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