British Columbia, Canada
I learned some important things through the example of someone I’ll call the unlikely name of Bald Bob: Selflessness. Compassion. Sacrifice.
On November 28, 1989, I found myself on the end of my 30-06 rifle in tremendous despair and dejection. My life was over. I couldn’t quit drinking no matter what I did. My mind was in a shambles, I couldn’t remember my thoughts from one moment to the next. I had to have alcohol morning, noon and night! I was achieving success in the eyes of the world, yet I was in a black hole emotionally, mentally and spiritually. I wanted to die and get it over with. Thus, the hunting rifle.
Instead, I made a call to Alcoholics Anonymous sometime after midnight, then went to a meeting the next evening. I stayed sober from then until Christmas out of desperation born of impending death. I wanted to drink for that whole month — it was very hard not to! Only the terror, bewilderment, frustration and despair of my last drunk kept me sober.
That’s where Bald Bob came in.
By Christmas, I was less than a month sober. But Christmas was my favorite time to “celebrate”! I was having dinner with my widowed mother and brother in a city many miles from home. My brother was drinking. I wanted desperately to drink along with him. All the old urges came back in full force. Feeling that desperation — that uncontrollable desire — put me in a state of total confusion. I wanted to drink, but knew I couldn’t without going back to all the past misery, back on the end of that rifle! I felt the horror of that time, yet I was about to reach for that bottle. I was scared! The booze had me in its grip again. I felt totally powerless to keep from drinking.
Suddenly I remembered: the PHONE! Call somebody! I leaped up from the table and grabbed the phone. I called the AA “hotline”. “Bald Bob” called back while we were still eating. I was really desperate — within moments I would drink, I said. Bob talked with me for awhile, mentioning that he was just sitting down with his family for Christmas dinner. But he offered to come and take me for coffee instead! I was so desperate that I agreed to meet him for coffee right away.
We met at a restaurant, and for four hours he drove me around the city as he listened sympathetically to my outpourings of grief and pain, until I felt calm and “safe” enough to return to my mother’s and go to bed. I haven’t had a drink since.
“Bald Bob” changed my whole outlook on sobriety and commitment. He left his family behind on Christmas right through dinner time just to keep me sober! By his example, I have stayed sober for nearly ten years.
Available in The Best of HeroicStories, Volume 1.