Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Lost Weekend

This weekend marks the 19th anniversary of my choice to stop drinking.

My partner at the time had hit rock bottom, that being the bottom of a vodka bottle. We were living in Petoskey, Michigan, at the time. The previous week he had blown out the engine in his classic 1963 Mercury Meteor in a booze-induced attempt to kill himself, but the engine gave out. We spent the weekend trying to get him as an emergency intake at Munson Medical Center in Traverse City, Michigan, but they wouldn’t take him until Monday. So he spent the time in a semi-catatonic state watching TV while I did everything I possibly could to maintain my own balance. (We later dubbed the weekend of October 7, 1992, as The Lost Weekend, a nod to the classic film about alcoholism.)

On Monday he took a 30-day sick leave from his job — fortunately he had an understanding (and in-recovery himself) boss — and I took him to the drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility, sixty miles away. I returned home that afternoon and cleaned the house of any remaining bottles or containers of alcohol, including my favorite beer and a bottle of wine that my parents had given me for my birthday. That night I attended my first Al-Anon meeting. I also decided that with the history of alcoholism in my family and living in a place where there were enough AA meetings to find one every night of the week, I didn’t need to drink. If Allen could stop, so could I.

He came home thirty days later. He was sober, happier, and for the rest of our time together — seven more years — he remained sober. (He still smoked, but you go with what you got.) As far as I know — and we’re still friends and talk every few months — he still is.

And so am I.