(p. 375 in 2nd edition, p. 335 in 3rd edition, p 295 in the 4th edition.)
They Stopped in Time
"She hid her bottles in clothes hampers and dresser drawers. She realized what she was becoming. In A.A., she discovered she had lost nothing and had found everything."
This story is of an alcoholic woman who stayed at home to care for her family. Her bar was her kitchen, her living room, her bedroom, the back bathroom, and the two hampers.
She had never been a very heavy social drinker, but during a period of particular stress and strain she resorted to alcohol in her home, alone, as a means of temporary release and a means of getting a little extra sleep. She didn't think a little wine would hurt her, but soon she was a chronic wine drinker. She needed it and couldn't live without it.
She became secretive about how much she drank. She pretended to be doing a lot of entertaining when she bought more wine, not wanting the clerk to know it was for herself.
When the doctor prescribed a little brandy for her son to help him through the night when he coughed, she switched from wine to brandy for three weeks. Soon she was in D.T.'s and screaming on the telephone for her mother and husband to come help her.
Thinking it would help if she got out of the house, she became active in civic affairs. As long as she worked she didn't drink, but had to get back to that first drink somehow. While she was out of the house her behavior was fine, but her husband and children saw the other side of her. She had turned into a Jekyll-and-Hyde personality.
When the children were in school from nine to three she started a little business and was fairly successful in it. But it was just a substitute for drink and she still needed that drink.
She tried switching to beer, which she had hated. Now she grew to love it and would drink it warm or cold.
Through all of this, her husband, whom she had turned against and treated badly, stayed with her and tried to help her.
Finally a doctor recommended A.A. At one time the admission that she was an alcoholic meant shame, defeat, and failure to her. Now she was able to interpret that defeat, and that failure, and that shame, as seeds of victory. It was only through feeling defeat and feeling failure, the inability to cope with her life and with alcohol, that she was able to surrender and accept the fact that she had the disease of alcoholism and that she had to learn to live again without alcohol.
In A.A. she found that for the first time she could face her problems honestly and squarely. She took everything that A.A. had to give her. She surrendered. To her surrender brought with it the ability to run her home, to face her responsibilities, to take life as it comes day by day. She had surrendered once to the bottle, and couldn't do those things.
She was brought up to believe in God, but not until she found A.A. did she know faith in the reality of God, the reality of His power that is now with her in everything she does.