From the November 2012 magazine.

November 2012: Under a Sixty Watt Bulb

A stranger helps a newcomer by shedding a little light on HP

By 1981, I was defeated by a life of drinking and debauchery. I was a worn out husk of a human being. I had no moral values left that I could live up to. Fear ran my life, as they say—and thirst. It drove every move I made. I wasn’t even aware of the thirst because I lived within it. I kept pouring in what it demanded. I lived my life from liquor store to liquor store.

I didn’t choose to quit drinking. I had to quit. I couldn’t keep the booze inside me. Every time I drank in that last year or so I vomited until my stomach was empty. Its brackish taste still lingers in my memory 30 years later. Dry heaves kept me gasping and gagging on the bathroom floor after everything within me was gone. I thought sometimes my soul must be gone too. But no, I lived on. I lived without hope.

-- Tom G.

Silver Spring, Maryland

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