Grapevine Online Exclusive

Published October 2019.

Sunlight of the Spirit

Early in sobriety, he discovered laughter—in fact, Grapevine helped him find it

I was six years old the first time I got drunk. It was New Year's Eve, and I had been giving my uncle a hard time about his drinking—I had told him that I could handle the booze better than he could. He decided to teach me a lesson and convinced my mom to let me drink. They got a few extra bottles of Boone’s Farm and never let my glass get empty. It was great; I was one of the grown-ups now! Later, I got sick. My mother told me I was going to die, so I should confess my sins now, which I did. Then I was in trouble for all the stuff I confessed.

My dad had a bad accident when I was about 12 and things were never the same again at home. I was in a lot of pain and didn't know what to do about it. Alcohol was a solution. I started drinking in secret with my friends. By the time I was 16, I was a full-blown alcoholic and I knew it, but I didn't care. When I was 18 years old, I was placed on probation for stealing and assault .I repeatedly violated my probation by drinking; I was in the drunk tank at least three days a week. Six months of this convinced my probation officer that AA might help me, and he ordered me to attend a meeting every day.

-- Jim R.

Republic, Mo.

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