From the January 1986 magazine.

A Bend in Recovery Road

WHEN I CAME through the doors of AA, I had nothing, literally. My three children had been in foster homes and other places because of my inability to care for them. I don't remember fixing meals or buying clothes, and today I don't know how they raised themselves because I was a bar drinker and never home. I had a husband who was in and out of the hospital, and I visited him only because I wanted his workmen's comp checks so I could have money for gas and drinks. I had sold the house when he was in the hospital, and for a while six people lived in a matchbook, two-bedroom house that I rented. I didn't care, I wasn't there. My favorite bar was a block down the road. I became a violent drunk. I would fight with anybody about anything. I abused my children and my husband. In the end, I was fighting cops. After spending a week in jail and really feeling the humiliation of being searched and watched, even in the shower, I was back at the bar the very day I was let out. I never understood. I didn't want to be there. I had a family, I wanted to be home taking care of them, and I could not stay home. Death seemed too good for me. I felt that life was my punishment; I was destined to live because I was such a bad person.

I had trouble when I first came to AA because I thought I was bad trying to be good, instead of sick trying to get better. My recovery was slow because I wouldn't listen, and through my emotional outbursts I was trying to get people to show how much they cared. Today, I know it was because of low self-esteem that I thought no one could love me. Thank God for the people with the patience.

-- P. W.

Ashtabula, Ohio

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