Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: At Wit’s End (02/13/14)
- TITLE: I Was An Alcoholic
By Dusty Fontaine
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My mother was the first to recognize my addiction. She was aware that I was sneaking drinks long before I became of legal age and warned me on my first day as an adult to be careful not to let alcohol take control of me.
Within a few months I was hearing the words “last call” nightly and drinking on the weekends as soon as the bars opened.
Mom begged me to stop drinking. She told me I was quickly becoming an alcoholic, an insinuation I scoffed at. I was under the impression it took years of hard drinking to become an addict -- and I’d only been drinking seriously for a couple months.
On Valentine’s Day, five months before my nineteenth birthday, my sixteen-year-old brother was killed in a car accident by a drunk driver. I had been drinking all night and was cruising around with a friend at 2:00 in the morning when the police pulled us over for erratic driving. While we were undergoing a sobriety test, another officer pulled up to inform me that my mother needed me at the hospital. She had sent him to find me, describing my friend’s van and the bars I frequented.
The tragic death of Donny devastated our family. Mom thought for sure this would cause me to stop drinking – it didn’t. She pleaded with me to stay home each night, but I threw myself into the alcohol even more to wash away the memories of my brother lying in the hospital with his head bandaged; taking his last breath. I came home every night between two and three in the morning to find my mother lying awake on the couch waiting for me to walk through the door.
About a year later, when leaving my favorite bar, I was arrested for drunk driving -- unjustly I felt. My mother came down to the police station to bail me out. There was silence in the car during the 4:00 AM ride home.
When Mom parked the car in the driveway, she didn’t open her door right away. Instead, she placed both hands and her head on the steering wheel and began crying uncontrollably. Between sobs she told me how scared she was for me and that she was at her wits’ end. She'd lost one son and didn’t want to lose another. She reiterated her belief that I was an alcoholic and needed help.
That made me angry. I was not an alcoholic! And I told her so while storming out of the car.
My mother’s attitude changed after that. She still waited up for me each night, sighing relief every time I walked through the door; but she stopped lecturing me about my drinking. Soon after, I moved into an apartment with a friend to enjoy a more guiltless freedom.
Another year passed and my addiction got worse. Driving home from a lounge early one morning, I blacked out. I remember my face pummeling the steering wheel of my car and flashes of bright light appearing before my eyes. What I don't remember was what caused it and how I got from there to the top of the bridge five miles away where I became cognizant again of my surroundings.
My car shut off, the dash lights lit up like a Christmas tree and I began coasting down the other side. The oil pan under the car was torn up, the engine blown and my car totaled. There was blood covering my face, shirt and the inside of the vehicle. What happened?
I don’t know to this day.
For weeks after, I read every article in the newspaper to see if there was a hit-and-run accident reported in the area. There were none. But that didn't hide the fact that I could have killed someone. I was finally ready to acknowledge my addiction.
I moved back in with my mother and started attending church with her. My desire to imbibe in alcohol didn't leave me immediately. I relapsed many times over the next couple years, but eventually I won the victory.
One day, having been sober for a while, I asked my mom what changed her attitude after that night in the car. She answered, "I was at my wits' end. I decided to stop fighting you -- and give it to God."
My mother had taken a page right out of God's Word: Psalms 107:27-28 (KJV)
I am no longer an alcoholic.
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