From the January 2010 magazine.


For an alcoholic in denial, the party had been over for a long tiem

In San Francisco, in 1990, I was a lonely girl with a smile all sweet with pain. I was 29 years old and my life had begun unraveling years before. I had been struggling with my cocaine addiction for over a decade, attending CA, NA and AA meetings sporadically throughout the last three years, usually after particularly dark episodes of extended and voracious drug abuse. If only I could stop the drugs, I'd be fine. I was not willing, however, to give up drinking, as was suggested in all of my twelve-step meetings. I couldn't imagine life without alcohol. I did not announce myself as a newcomer at meetings, nor did I get a sponsor, work the Steps or follow any suggestions, except for one. I was a limbo girl who "kept coming back."

Everyone I knew drank and they drank more than I did, or so I thought. Never mind the hangovers, the blackouts, the morning shakes, the bruises on my body and my jaundiced eyes. I could drink with the best of them! Life was a party! And alcohol helped take the pain away.

-- JUDE H.

Graton, Calif.

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