From the January 2011 magazine.

January 2011: The Drunk Who Came in From the Cold

The bitter Alaskan wind blows a lost cause into the rooms of AA

Please do not disturb. I'm working on my isolation and despair.

Sixty days into my sobriety, around 10 p.m., during a cold 20-below-zero dark night in 2009, my old self-will deceived me into leaving a treatment facility in Wasilla, Alaska. Located on a ranch, the facility was, at that time in my life, the only hope and salvation from a lifetime of substance abuse. After intense objections from staff counselors, clients, my biological son and my AA sponsor, I remained stubborn and determined to prove everything was under control when realistically my way of thinking was way out of control.

So, there I was walking off into the unknown of an Alaskan sub-artic night. Several choices confronted me: a) return to Fairbanks to a scenario deeply resented, b) venture to Anchorage, maybe joining hundreds of other lost souls, or c) visit a bar to prove or disprove the insane rumored possibility that bartenders will accept Alcoholics Anonymous sobriety coins in exchange for liquor.

-- Ron M.

Barrow, Alaska

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