From the November 2013 magazine. First printed in May 2007.

November 2013: An Inner Truth

Wife or no wife, legs or no legs, a Marine discovers that AA works when you get honest

I served in the United States Marines for 10 years, and I was sure that it was the right career for me. Drinking was a pastime for many in my platoon and I fit right in. Then, in September of 1984, my life was turned upside down. One night, while returning from liberty, I was injured in a motorcycle accident that left me both physically and spiritually changed for the rest of my life. After 18 months in the hospital and 36 surgeries, my right leg had to be amputated.

During my hospitalization, alcohol was not readily available, but I still found ways and means to acquire my old friend. I asked nurses and technicians to smuggle me bottles here and there, but there was never enough. But after being introduced to morphine and demerol, I required much less alcohol to keep “sane.” By the time I left the hospital, I was not only an alcoholic, but an addict as well. Once released, I continued to drink alcoholically for the next 10 years. The progression of the disease took me all the way to homelessness. My wife of seven years, who was also one of my nurses, could no longer take the pain of living with a very sick alcoholic and addict. She packed up my two children and left. Now alone, my drinking began to reach new limits. I was homeless—without a family, without a leg, and without a life. I didn’t know which way to turn and suicide seemed an option worth investigating.

-- Tim B.

Jasper, Indiana

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