Sobriety is Contagious

Alcohol was my solution, not my problem. It got me through college and through law school. It worked for me, for a while. I was an alcoholic by the spring of 1957, but I didn't know that yet. During that spring semester I met the woman who would become my wife and I made four A's and one B at Chapel Hill. I studied every day and got loaded every night. I travelled to Charlotte most weekends to see my gal. Life was going great. I had no idea I was an alcoholic.

Jump ahead to 1976, when I found myself at an AA meeting. At that time, if given a polygraph test, my answer to whether I was an alcoholic would have been a resounding NO. And the test would have shown no deception, because this was my truth. I had an active law practice, a wife and two children, a home and two cars in the driveway. Although I had a few close calls, I never got a DWI. From my viewpoint, my life was not unmanageable. My wife was the problem and I went to AA to get her off my back. She told me that when I was drinking, I brightened up the whole room whenever I walked out.

I never took another drink after that first AA meeting. If you hang around AA long enough, you may have my experience. I guess sobriety is contagious. The peer pressure to not drink is enormous.

I did not realize that my going to that first AA meeting was a major life decision. Yet, I ended up doing all those things I once thought didn't apply to me: I got a sponsor, worked the steps, made 12th step calls. "The Promises" came true for me.

After all these years I have come to the realization that I had a lot less to do with my own sobriety than I once thought. I had a wonderful sponsor. I would call him with a problem and his response was always the same: "Don't drink and go to a meeting and it will all work out." At first, I thought, "My God, I'm a lawyer. He just doesn't understand." I was seeking complexity and here this guy was dishing out simplicity. That sponsor died a few years ago, and I became aware that there is a divinity to simplicity. Today I strive to keep it simple. I don't drink, I go to meetings and it all works out.

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