I feel like I should present my credentials to be talking about alcoholism and recovery. In my early teens a bunch of us would pool our money and find a wino to buy us some booze. Even then I knew I was not like the other guys. Not long after we started drinking the booze the wino bought for us, all of my buddies got sick or gave up and went home. My only thought was how am I going to get more? Even back then I had an ability to drink a lot and still function almost normally. Not much to build a resume on, but it was the groundwork for my career as an alcoholic. For about twenty-four years I drank irresponsibly whenever I could, raising hell and walking on the edge. I took advantage of people who made the mistake of trusting me. The core of our disease is self-centeredness. I had that. I was reckless and did not really give a damn about anything except what I wanted. Unburdened by any denial, I knew I was an alcoholic very early. My irresponsible and reckless life style earned me many trips to county jails. After my first marriage ended I was totally out of control, not out of sadness, but more out of relief because I had not been able to handle the responsibilities of fatherhood and marriage. For a couple of years I did not work, and even spent time homeless in California and Nevada. During that time it never entered my mind to stop drinking. I survived by street smarts and a natural ability to con and manipulate people. While in jail I heard about the twelve-step program from members who would visit the jails in an effort to help drunks like me. I always respected these guys but I did not want to change, nor was I ready. Why would I give up my lifestyle for a life I saw as boring? I was surviving and occasionally scoring a few dollars playing cards or conning a trusting person. Not a way of life conducive to longevity and success. It has been said that an alcoholic has to drink every drink that he or she must drink to get to a point where they admit defeat and surrender unconditionally. I arrived at that point on February 5th, 1975. Looking back, I realize I was very fortunate to get to this point while I still had a working brain, a beating heart, and my freedom. I should have lost all except for the grace of God. I did not think that way at the time: I just knew I was done. When I knocked on the door of a known member of the twelve-step program, he and a couple other guys saved my life. They showed me the way to live without alcohol and a way to become a better person. Soon I realized that this program was not a boring way of life, but a design for living which after a while became exciting as little by little I started to rebuild my reputation. I started to feel good physically, to stabilize emotionally, and started to see where these steps were changing my vision of life. I no longer wanted to hurt people, I became honest, was open to new ideas, and willing to do what was suggested. When told to do some things that made no sense to me, I did them anyway, because I wanted what these new friends had. In my drinking days I could not stay sober for more than two or three days. Now I have not had a drink since my first day in the twelve-step program. Today I pass on the message and try to help fellow sufferers from drugs and alcohol. It feels great to pay something back for this incredible gift which was so freely given to me. I remember getting thirty days dry and thinking, “This might just work.” Now I have forty years and yes, it does work.