Hope From The Hopeless – Grapevine Article May 1992 by Linda B.

I first came into the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous four years ago. I was suicidal, filled with rage, and completely baffled by this strange disease that had taken control of my life, my soul, my mind, and my spirit.

I went into a treatment center, attended meetings there, prayed, read all the AA literature I could get my hands on, and worked the Steps to the best of my ability. But it did not work. I had no defense against the first drink and was constantly slipping. Understanding would not come to me. I was ready to chuck the whole thing and drink until I was committed or arrested. I wanted the whole world to be over.

One Sunday morning, sobering up after a five-day binge, I had occasion to attend a rodeo in the town of Cloverdale, B.C. I was very sick that day, but my family wanted to go and one of my rules when drinking was never let them know how much it hurt. So off we went with me pretending I felt just fine. They went to see the livestock, but seeing as how I had just had a five-day drunk and had seen enough animal-like behavior during it to fill my head for years I told them to go on without me, that I would just sit on the outskirts of a beer garden and order myself a diet soda.

I was sitting there feeling utterly alone and in complete despair, when a man came by and sat at the table with me, a sick alcoholic he was, and in the last stages of this horrible illness. He was a mess. He had wet his pants and was carrying a plastic grocery bag which he was using to vomit in. He ordered two beers from the waiter and asked me, “How come you’re just drinking soda, Honey?” A wave of honesty came over me and I told him I was an alcoholic and could not drink anymore and could not stop either. He got a funny look in his eyes and asked me if I had ever tried Alcoholics Anonymous!

Mygawd, I thought, look who’s asking me if I had tried AA. I told him yes I had, but it wasn’t working for me, I just couldn’t get a grip on it and the program kept slipping through my fingers.

He pushed his beer to one side and told me he had once been in AA for seven years. He had seven years sober and one day he knew it was time for him to work the Steps the way the Big Book says to work them and he could not get honest with himself. He could not do the Steps the way he had to and he decided to get drunk instead.

We talked for a long time and he told me many things. I wanted to take him home and save him, but he would have no part of that. He told me it was too late for him. We argued about that for a while, and I told him as long as he was alive it was not too late, but I could see he did not believe me. We parted company.

The things he said burned inside of me. This man reached me when I would hear no other voice. I began to work the Steps the way the Book says, I surrendered to this program and my Higher Power, I found a defense against the first drink.

I found out last week that this man’s name was Bob. They found his body a year later in the parking lot behind the fairgrounds where we met.

In two weeks I will be clean and sober two years and I don’t believe it would be so without the intervention of that old drunk.

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