Grapevine Online Exclusive

Published June 2011.

Web Exclusive: It Defined Who I Was

After 25 years of drinking I could hardly picture my life without alcohol.

"My fridge at home had been empty for weeks, with only a few empty beer bottles left in it. "

As I hung up the phone, I saw my hands were shaking. I felt sick to my stomach with a mixture of fear and uneasiness, yet I knew that the call needed to be made. The day started out like any other day you would expect in the middle of December in Rhode Island: cold, dreary and unpromising. Yet this day, unbeknownst to me at the time, would be the day that changed my life forever.

My head still pounding from the night before, I walked into the building around 1 p.m. on December 10th, 1997. I had with me the items they asked me to bring a toothbrush, change of clothes and an ID card. There were a mixture of people there, some looked good while others looked like hell. I was not quite sure what I was walking into, I just knew one thing, that I needed help. A counselor walked up to me and said simply "Welcome." I didn't really feel welcomed at the time, but I took a deep breath and said "Thank You." The counselor took me over to an old rickety desk. He asked me for my ID card and started asking me questions. I answered them numbly, not really caring what he thought of me, after all he had probably heard much worse. I could not think of much else except when dinner would be served.

-- Patrick S.

Wilmington, North Carolina

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