As I write this morning, I remember that about this time in the morning, February 28, 1974, ago, I came to for the last time, laying face down in a puddle of puke and snot and blood, in total disarray, with no idea where I was or how I had gotten there. . . at least it was not concrete and surrounded with steel bars as was frequently the case. I KNEW something DIFFERENT, as my mind came out of the fog, DIFFERENT than I had ever known it before -- "THE BOTTLE HAD ME BEAT." -- and I KNEW IT!! I was aware (??) of a strange phenomena, of having seen a great white light and hearing a strange rushing sound, the sound of angel feathers.
As quickly as possible, which was quite slow, for I could not move fast in fear of detonating and disintegrating, I removed myself from where I was, found a hidden corner where I could hunker down and try to get it a little more together. I spent most of the day there, visited often by the Terrible Four Horsemen, Terror, Bewilderment, Frustration and Despair, shaking, puking, crying out, shaking some more, and have a vague recollection later in the day of crying out, "God, there has to be a better way." . . . I had no idea that was a prayer at the time, but apparently it was, for within minutes (or hours???) a phone that was near me started ringing, and to keep my head from exploding, I answered it.
The voice of an angel asked, "This is Alcoholics Anonymous, may we help you?" That voice, which I still can hear, talked with me and comforted me for a time, letting me know that I was important to her, that things could get better, that I would be able to stay alive, got me down from where I had treed myself like a scared cat, asked if I would like some help, or to go to a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous with people who had recovered from the same problem I had . . .
Of course, my ego would not let me admit that "personal" help was needed or required, but on the strength of the angel telling me where a meeting was located, I did manage to make it to my first steadying handshake with Tex as I came through the door and to my first meeting . . . From that day to this the promise and guarantee that Tex gave me then has been true . . . "You will never have to take another drink as long as you live unless you, yourself, absolutely insist on it, but you WILL need help . . . NONE of us can do it alone."
After members had sat through the night and next day with me to help me get through the whips and jingles and puking dry heaves, and come back to earth, Tex gave me 12 THINGS to DO, and ONE to NOT DO the next day. As a RESULT of learning to apply them to my life, and LIVE THEM, I have found NO NEED for the FIRST DRINK from that day to this, NO EXCUSES, and within a very short time, no craving, no desire, no want.
That, my friends, is the MIRACLE of AA in my life and in yours. All we have to do is let it happen.
I appreciate very much each and everyone of you, your best wishes and congratulations, but I at the same time can still hear Tex's voice when he was presenting me with my first year's chip.
"Well done, Bob, you have earned this, but I have no intention of extending a congratulation to you. Why in hell should we alcoholics be congratulated just for doing what we should have been doing all along? WELL DONE!! Just keep DOING IT!!"
With that, he handed me the chip, gave me another handshake and with an arm around the shoulders, guided me in faltering steps to the podium, and told me to tell the group how I did it . . . "I didn't pick up the first drink, I read the books and ALL the literature, I went to meetings, I did the steps, and I tried to help another."
That has been the story ever since . . . To become an old timer in AA only two requirements MUST be met -- "DONT DRINK and DON'T DIE." -- and keep DOING what you should have been doing all along!!
Thank you all from deep down within me, from my very soul . . . I have needed and used your help as it was offered with Love.
Love and Peace, Barefoot
In Memory of Tex R.