My alcoholism is not a straight wind of destruction. It is more of a tornado, a vortex cycling around, touching down here and there, causing destruction, sucking up a lot of debris, then going back into the clouds: always lurking somewhere in the clouds.

Throughout my 24 years of drinking, I have been able to stop on my own for a few weeks here, a month there, nine-months a couple of times to have kids. I could never stay stopped. I always started again: slowly, at first, one drink a night. Then, two. Three. The bottle of wine. The stupid drunk behavior. The blackouts. The intensity always increased.

Before I stepped into AA, I had made another of my decisions to stop drinking.

That worked for three months.

Then life happened.

The Wizard walked out. It wasn’t the first time. This time, though, I had Al-Anon to get me through the emotional crisis. And it did help. I didn’t drink and patted myself on the back:  See, I can do this without those other meetings.

Then life continued to happen: I got a call from The Wizard. He was in the hospital. Detoxing.

His eyes and skin glowed yellow. He couldn’t feed himself pudding. His abdomen was swollen. He hallucinated. He ripped out IVs. He tried to escape.

As I sat with him in his hospital room one night, my tears streaming, I thought: That could be me. I’ll never drink again. I’ll do whatever it takes to make sure I don’t end up like that.

Touching moment, isn’t it? Lovely. Emotional. A good after-school special: Dorothy Learns about Alcoholism. But, that isn’t what got me into AA meetings.

As I left The Wizard’s room, wiping away my tears, I had The Second Thought:  I really want a bottle of wine. 

Really? Really! I had just witnessed the horrors of the disease. I had seen someone I love in the grips of the deadly disease. I had just sworn I would do whatever it takes. And I wanted to drink? 

Only an alcoholic thinks like that.

The Second Thought, along with a gentle nudge from an addiction counselor, got me in the door of AA. I knew I couldn’t do it alone. I had no buffer between myself and my next drink.

I had tried everything to control the tornado. And nothing worked.

I tried begging The Wizard to stop drinking. If he would stop, then my drinking would go away–magically evaporate into the clouds. It didn’t work.

I tried drinking with the normies. I watched their glasses and bottles to make sure I never emptied mine first. If I could just learn how to drink normal… It didn’t work.

I tried reading self-help books. If I could just read enough feel-good bullsh*t, then I would be OK. It didn’t work.

I tried fixing everyone around me. If I could just make everything and everyone better, then I would be OK. It didn’t work.

I drank alcoholically from my very first drink. I was out of control from the beginning.

Life brought me in the door of AA–a life I could no longer control.