This week’s HTYH is a continuation of Judy P.’s story: After my husband and I moved from Atlanta to a farm in Ohio, I suddenly became aware of God’s magnificent creation. It was a whole new experience for me and one morning in our backyard I watched a tiny fawn and a recently born rabbit observing each other. They cautiously approached one another until they touched noses, can you imagine how I felt-it was like having Thumper and Bambi in my backyard. Watching the animals, birds and other wildlife became part of my morning meditation and it brought me closer to God.

Greg’s health continued to deteriorate and his spine injuries were grating on the nerves that controlled his breathing-the doctors said the best we could hope for is that it wouldn’t get worse-it did. He was hospitalized 13 times during the next 8 years. One night he woke me up and said, “I can’t breath, I cannot get my breath.” I called an ambulance and they took him to the hospital. That was on a Tuesday and the doctor called on Sunday and said he’s been on life support all week and there’s no hope that he can survive without it. I prayed about it and a man in Atlanta that I sponsor called, when I told him Greg was in ICU and explained the ugly facts he said, “I’ll be there in ten hours.” He was there with me when I signed the papers and he also kept our A.A. friends in Atlanta up to date on our situation and sat with me day and night while we waited on the inevitable. Friends from our church in Ohio and A.A. friends from Atlanta and Ohio surrounded us with a loving support that was unbelievable. Greg died and I will never forget his funeral. We planned it before he died, we had arranged for a professional singer to come in and lead us in his favorite hymns. The church was filled with A.A. and church friends-the tears flowed freely and it was a beautiful funeral service. The angels in heaven knew Greg Pierce was on his way because of the beautiful harmonies and music coming from that church. Our wonderful Ohio neighbors brought in food; there was so much food.

The minister asked if anybody would like to say anything on Greg’s behalf and one by one the people he sponsored stood up and told how he had impacted their sobriety. One man said, “With Greg’s help I’ve achieved long-term sobriety and my 21 year old son has never seen me drunk.” When I looked out over all the sober people in that church whom Greg had sponsored it made me eternally grateful for the miracle of Alcoholics Anonymous. A year later I moved back to Atlanta and it had nothing to do with Ohio but it had everything to do with snow. I told my southern friends that if I ever again took a notion to move north of the Mason-Dixon line to chain me to the porch until my insanity passed. Selling that old farmhouse was a traumatic experience, but I needed to let go of the memories tied to it. Two of the men Greg sponsored drove up to Ohio and helped me move back to Georgia. I bought a small house out in the country, in the mountains, on a gravel road without streetlights. I open all of my windows and I can hear nature in all of her magnificent glory, it gets a little scary when the coons get to growling, snarling and causing a ruckus, but it’s usually peaceful and serine. I have gotten used to living alone because I’m never really alone. Once I formed a relationship with God I was never alone again. I don’t want anybody to make me the center of attention, but I do wish to be clean, look neat and be respectable, pay my bills on time and work forty hours a week until I retire. My preference is not to be a dynamic speaker, but to work one-on-one with the men and women who still suffer from untreated chronic alcoholism.

John Barleycorn

The phantom writer of the column "Here's to Your Health". This writer is an active member of Alcoholics Anonymous and therefore must maintain anonymity. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer