From the January 2013 magazine.

January 2013: Pit Stop

She spent years hopping from bars to beds until a good friend showed her the way home

On my 25th birthday, I remember “coming to” in a drunk’s trailer house across from a hole-in-the-wall-bar, where I was able to pick up drinks on most days. The owner of the trailer was a guy who had picked me up in that bar a few days prior. He offered me drinks and a bed, and I took them. The morning of my birthday as I reached into the refrigerator to get one of his beers, I remember thinking: I wish I could find a way to stop drinking, so I never again have to reach for a drink on my birthday.

After he had finished his coffee and I had finished a couple of beers to calm my shakes and paid homage to the porcelain throne, he could see the beers weren’t doing the trick, so he took me to the bar for a real drink. All I could think of was how to hold the drink down and how much I didn’t want to live another year drinking. Here I was on my birthday, sitting on a bar stool with a strange guy, hoping he would continue to buy me drinks. I was homeless, without my son, no money, two sets of clothing, unemployable, and just coming from the road off of a three-month blackout, having hitchhiked from who knows where. I could not live in that hell anymore.

-- Terry F.

Merrill, Michigan

This is a preview. To view the full article, use the link below to begin a free 7-day trial!