From the May 2007 magazine.

Step Five: When The Fog Lifts

My first drunk was adisaster. My parents went out for a New Year's Eve party. I was thirteen years old and I was alone. I decided to find out what drinking was about. So I stole a bottle of scotch from my dad's liquor cabinet and began to drink. I would take a drink and then get on my bike and ride around the block to see if I was getting what people called drunk. I did this several times until, somewhere along the line, I blacked out. I guess I finished most of the bottle but all I remember is coming out of the blackout in a hospital while my stomach was being pumped. My parents had found a red pill on the floor and thought I might be on drugs. It turned out to be a mint. Anyway, the police got involved, my school got involved, and the whole family was shaken up. I tell this story because this was the way I drank and used drugs for the next twenty years. I did not know how to stop. I got high every day.

Over the next twenty years, my family tried interventions and everything else to get me to stop. Nothing worked. I was miserable and I put many people in danger. One of things I loved to do was to go fishing in the ocean. I bought a boat and found out what a wonderful thing it was to go out into the ocean, forty miles off shore, and drink all day. No one hassled you. The only problem was that the people riding with me were afraid for their lives. I did not care: I went full speed ahead over the waves, screaming in a drunken stupor the whole way. One time I was out with a friend, drinking tequila, when a wave hit the side of the boat. I fell off the boat and banged my head on the side of the boat, almost knocking myself out. Even though I was in the middle of the ocean, I managed to get back onto the boat, only to fall off again. Only later did I realize how lucky I was to live.

-- Bill M.

San Diego, California

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