Thursday, June 25, 2009
There is no glory in the telling of these things, nor from my standpoint, any condemnation in the iteration of the facts. They are what they are. What I am doing is relaying, as best I can, the events and the mindset that existed at the time being discussed.
Whether I was right or wrong is a judgement I will leave to the reader. I do not do now, what I did then, but what I did then was what I did as a result of where my addictions and madness led me.
Had I not been who I was, and had I not pursued what I pursued, perhaps none of this would have ever happened. I told you that my thinking at the time was "Fuck me, fuck you, fuck life, and fuck God," because that was exactly what I was thinking when the event with the bottle occurred.
I wanted to drink and couldn't. My mental and moral state was outlandish and deeply flawed, but during those moments, by whatever means, something which ran contrary to my decisions and actions, intervened in my behavior and did not permit me to take one more drink.
That force, that thing, whatever it was, superseded all that I was in that instant. It was not subtle, it was absolute. It was not vague, but overwhelming. All of my will could not put that bottle in my mouth.
I am sure there will be various opinions about what it was. In my mind, it was and is, the most concrete evidence I have of a "power greater than myself" stepping in against my will saying, "That's enough Bobby, that's enough."
There wasn't a decision on my part to stop drinking, or to invite or accept God, or any other power into my life that morning. To the contrary, and this is important, this power exhibited itself of it's own accord, whether or not I invited it or agreed to it, which I hadn't. It was not left up to me in any way.
When I came to, hours later, believe me, I needed a drink, and could have gotten one, but I didn't want one. This for me was a dramatic difference. I could not ever remember not wanting a drink. For those of you who can take it or leave it, this may seem absurd, but for me, this was an absolute difference in my behavior and thinking.
On April 1, 1976, I sat in a heap in the home of my old AA sponsor. I was coming down hard. I shook uncontrollably and cried like a baby as the alcohol's effect wore thin.
Every fiber of my being needed a drink, but I wouldn't take one. As I continued to disintegrate before the eyes of his family, my old sponsor asked if I wanted a drink, knowing what I was going through. "No!" I croaked, "I don't want any."
He'd seen this before and knew my history in AA. He'd seen me come in and then go back out, so with some reluctance he tried to believe me when I said I wasn't going to drink.
He asked what I was willing to do to stay sober, and I said, "Anything!" He asked if I would go to a hospital, and I said, "Yes!" It was clear that a "cold turkey" come down was going to be brutal, so he wanted me to be in the hands of someone who could deal with seizures if they occurred.
I'd come down hard before, but this time was going to be the worst. It gets progressively harder each time the body and mind have to go through this process.
I'd gotten sober in his house before, and it had been bad, so this time he wanted to spare his family having to watch me go through it again.
He called another member of AA who showed up within the hour, and together they put me in a car and drove me to emergency at L.A. General.
The hospital did not want to take me, but these two men refused to leave. They sat there with me for hours, and watched me sink ever deeper into distress. Periodically they'd ask me if I needed a drink, saying, "We can get you one if you need it."
"No!" I squeaked, "I don't want any." Finally someone from the hospital asked if I was willing to go by ambulance to Long Beach General, which had a detox center and alcoholism program. I said I would do anything, anything at all.
The two men who took me to the hospital spent most of their day making sure I got to where I needed to go. They missed work and never complained.
They had plenty of reason to believe that this was another time when Bobby Jameson was going to get sober just to end up drunk again, so it has always amazed me that they did what they did, for free, for another sick alcoholic, me.