From the June 2004 magazine.

48 Cents Short

After sixteen years, his program still comes up short

It is 1:05 A.M. on a Thursday morning. I am writing this on paper borrowed from a hospital nurse. I am starting my tenth day in this hospital room. My ongoing struggle with pancreatitis (a condition that developed through alcohol and drug abuse and a serious accident) has once again made me seek medical treatment. In eight days, I will have sixteen years of continuous sobriety.

While this trip to the hospital was sudden and unexpected, I had AA literature in the car with me when I arrived. I soon (as my physical illness subsided) had an audiocassette tape player and AA tapes, copies of the Grapevine, a Big Book, and "The Twelve and Twelve." What I did not have and still cannot seem to find is the desire to be sober and the contentment of sobriety.

-- Ernie H.

Flat Rock, North Carolina

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