THREE YEARS before I found my way to AA, I stopped drinking through fear and willpower, because I had run into a whole peck of troubles brought on by daily drinking and fully familiar to any alcoholic. In spite of urging from the police department, I did not go to AA then. So, inevitably, I began to drink again. For quite a while, I carefully avoided the daily drinking. Nearly every drink I did take led to a binge, a blackout, and a day of desperate sickness, but all these were blocked out of my memory immediately afterward. Over the next two and a half years, I struggled for control.