This week’s HTYH is a continuation of Tim’s story: The woman who first helped me is still going to A.A. meetings; she’s over eighty years old and has forty years of sobriety. There are two things I run into today that really bother me; responsibility and authority. I resent authority figures who tell me I should be responsible. For a chronic alcoholic like me, authority and responsibility stink. I never had a real father in my life, he was a chronic alcoholic; it bothered me a lot, and I used that as an excuse to end up like him. I constantly dodged responsibility and people with authority. I suffered from a delusion: if I could have my father back, everything would be OK. He lived in New Orleans so, I went there and contacted the New Orleans Central Office for A.A.; they contacted my father and put us together. All of a sudden, I had a father, and he had a son. We both tried in vain to play our new rolls, but neither one of us had ever played those parts before. We did the best we could, but we didn’t know what we were doing. After about three months of futility and frustration my daddy started drinking alcohol again. At the age of 13, I remember my mother coming home and finding me passed out in her house and she begged me, “Son, please don’t drink alcohol, or you will end up like your father.” But until I lived with my father, and observed his alcoholism, I couldn’t understand what she was so terrified about. In New Orleans, I watched my father drink alcohol; get drunk and go into the DT’s (delirium tremens). I watched people from Alcoholics Anonymous come to our house and 12-step him. I made a decision right then, to never become a chronic alcoholic. I said to myself, “I’m not going to be like him!” I stayed sober for four years; matter of fact, I didn’t do much of anything else for the next four years. Suddenly, I was in New Orleans without any responsibility, or authority and I did only what pleased me. It was 1966, I was free and responsible people and the authorities labeled me a hippy. They called me something else in Alabama and Texas, but nevertheless I had four good alcohol free years and traveled around America. If I woke up in Los Angeles and didn’t like it there, I hitch-hiked to Miami. If I didn’t like Miami, I went to Denver and if I didn’t like it there, I went somewhere else. I went wherever I wanted and never answered to anyone. If I had a pack of cigarettes, a sleeping bag and something to eat my expectations were met; it was a good day. The book Alcoholics Anonymous says my level of expectation and serenity is directly proportionate. I’m a pretty happy guy if I get what I want, when I want it, but if I don’t serenity disappears and I become angry, resentful, restless, irritable and discontented.
To be continued…
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