This week’s HTYH is a continuation of Cindy’s story: After I started drinking alcoholically, I went down hill really fast. I was no longer that kid with great expectations, hopes and dreams who bounced back from bad nights—everything turned dark and I was miserable. When I arrived around the tables of AA and I heard other alcoholics say that they were sick and tired of being sick and tired—it rang like a bell and it fit me to a “T.” I knew that was me and although I was still trying to be 16 years old and have fun again, I could not get back there no matter how hard I tried, or how much I wished. Those days were gone and although I was working and still had a house and a car, even if it was in a ditch somewhere, I didn’t think I was that bad. I didn’t go to skid row but I brought skid row to my house. I didn’t have to live on the street because I was living like that at home. I will never forget my last drunk, or what it was like because what happened to me that night brought into focus just how sick and miserable I really was.

I was a bar drinker too and I always felt important when I walked in the bar and they already had what I drank sitting on the bar. They knew me; they served and catered to me, and when I walked in the bar the party was on, but that last drunk, I was too sick to go out. It was in January right after a huge New Years Eve party and it wasn’t fun anymore. After the party I brought home all of the leftover bottles and I got out a half gallon of rum and started drinking it. I drank it with Pepsi until that ran out and then I switched to Kool-aide and when that ran out I started drinking it straight and I could not get drunk—alcohol had stopped working for me. No matter how much I drank I could not get that good feeling that I experienced in the beginning. There was only sickness and misery and the more I drank the worse it got and the buzz was not there.

The longer I sat there the more I knew how sick I was getting and how severe the hangover would be and that I would not be able to work the next day. I knew those things were going to happen and I lay in bed at the end of my rope—This could not continue-but the alcohol had me-I could not live with alcohol nor could I stand the thought of living without it. I was installing cable TV then and I probably owe some of you an apology if I hooked up your cable TV because you never knew what you might get. You might have paid for basic cable TV and received the premium channels or you might have paid for the premium channels and received basic TV?

I got out of bed the next morning but I was too physically sick to function so I went to work, got in my truck but drove back home. My sister Candy had moved in to look after me. God Bless her and her subtle ways because she tried her best to help me. She would say, “OK, it’s time to go home now. It’s 11:00 PM and we have to work tomorrow,” but I ignored her. The morning that I drove back home I was at the end but I didn’t know which way to turn. Candy’s alarm didn’t go off that morning so she was there rushing around getting ready for work. To me that was miracle number one because she took one look at me and asked, “What’s wrong?” All that I could say was, “I don’t know, but I cannot go on any longer.” Candy and I had never talked about my alcoholism and the truth was I never understood my problems were alcohol related. I blamed my problems on bad luck, nasty people, and arrogant cops with a bad attitude, but it was never my fault—it couldn’t be alcohol that was causing my problems.

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