From the December 1999 magazine.

An English Gentleman

My name is "Light Bulb" Keith and I'm an alcoholic. I started drinking when I was six years old, and I got sober when I was twenty-two. I was but a lad.

My first drink was an astonishing experience. It seemed to be the answer to all of my problems. I felt elated, because I thought I'd found the Secret of the Universe. All my problems dissolved, and I felt complete and at ease. The next day, I repeated the experiment, but the second time was not so successful. I was very disappointed and tried it again. Still not getting the same effect, I became quite despondent. I must be doing something wrong. Not enough Polish Vodka? Not enough beet-root wine? Or had the beer gone off? Whichever combination I tried, it just wouldn't work as well as the first time. It was only when I came to AA, that I realized that the reason it had been such an astonishing experience, was that it was new, so that thereafter, I more or less knew what was going to happen. Part of the intensity of the experience had been in the surprise, and it would never be the same again. I had lost my alcoholic virginity.

-- Keith J. M.

Clevedon, Somerset, England

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