From the December 2010 magazine.

Four years

MONDAY night I got my chip. It is a four-year chip and it signifies simply that it has been four years since my life changed, four years as a survivor of a suicide attempt that was the end result of an active disease known as alcoholism.

I first viewed alcohol as a friend, a nice aid to help me with the emotional roller-coaster of the end of a relationship. It also served to help me sleep during that time. I had had the mistaken belief, because of an afternoon school special on TV years before, that it took at least four years of heavy drinking to make an alcoholic. To my view, I had only been doing that for about five months, so I still had a good three years to go before I needed to start cutting back.

-- GREG P.

San Jose, Calif.

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