From the January 2017 magazine.

The room

For years, he felt sorry for those people behind that door. Then one day, he asked to go in

When I was 17, I was a delivery boy for my family liquor store, delivering orders to our “preferred” customers. I had had my first drink the year before and lived through my first blackout. Delivering alcohol to our customers gave me the opportunity to meet people who drank so much that they were unable to leave their homes to buy their own alcohol. In some cases, it appeared that they were unable to do anything else, as the smell and disarray that would greet me at their doors was disgusting. Between
deliveries I would tell myself that I’d never drink to the point that I couldn’t go out and get my own liquor. Yet, all other drinking for me was OK. And having blackouts was a bothersome issue, but it seemed a minor problem that could be handled with a little planning.

Both sides of my family had alcoholism. My maternal grandfather died of drinking in a sanitarium in 1939. Aunts, uncles and cousins on my mom’s side appear to suffer from the disease. My dad was chronically drunk. My aunt owned a bar and my dad and brother-in-law owned our liquor store. Alcoholics Anonymous was never a dinner table topic. I believe that I inherited that gene.

-- Jerry L.

Davis, California, USA

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