From the July 1998 magazine.

Bouncing to the Bottom

In 1989, I discovered that I had a problem with alcohol. I was only twenty years old. In May of that year, I was arrested on assault charges stemming from a barroom brawl. I continued to drink and in September, I went to a bar with my cousin and a coworker and got pretty drunk. What happened next should have been my bottom but unfortunately it wasn't. My cousin got into an argument with the bouncer over some nonsense, and the bouncer ended up shooting and killing my cousin, as I watched in a drunken state.

My Uncle John, who was also my godfather, had been sober for three years and tried to reach out to me. He felt my pain because he'd been in my shoes. He and my father were drinking partners. My father was also sober for a few months and to this day has not picked up a drink. I wanted to be like my father and uncle when I grew up.

-- Matthew Y.

Marcy, New York

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