We were dying ...
We died of pneumonia in furnished rooms, where they found us three days later because someone complained about the smell. We were dying under bridges and no one knew if it was suicide. We ourselves did not know this, although, if you think about it, it was always suicide. We were dying in hospitals with huge distended bellies and no one could do anything. We died in cells without knowing whether we were guilty or not.
We went to the priests. They made promises to us. They told us to pray. They told us to go and sin no more ... but go! We were going. And we were dying. We were dying of an overdose. We died in beds. We were dying in straitjackets, seeing God only knows what horrible, disgusting and terrible things in delirium tremens. But do you know what was the worst? The worst part was that no one had any idea how we tried. We went to the doctors, and they, guided by the principle "this is so crazy that it can work", gave us drugs that made us sick when drinking alcohol. Sometimes they just shook their heads and sent us to mental hospitals. And we were let out of there, addicted to sedatives and sleeping pills. We lied to the doctors. And they told us to drink in moderation. And we tried. And we were dying. With our broken jaws fixed tightly with wire, we drowned, choking on our own vomit. We were dying playing Russian roulette and people thought we had lost.
But we knew better. We died under the hooves of horses, under the wheels of cars, from knives and under the heels of our alcoholic brothers. We were dying in shame. Do you know what's the worst thing? The worst thing is that we ourselves could not believe that we really tried very hard. It seemed to us that we only thought that we tried. And we died believing that we didn't understand how to try, and that we didn't try. When, driven to despair, in the hope of a miracle, we began to look for help, we went to people with letters after their names, hoping that they had read the right books, which contained the right words. And none of us realized the frightening truth that the right words, which turned out to be so simple, had not yet been written.
We were dying falling from high-rise buildings. We died with the barrel of a gun in our mouths. We died in deserted places with our hands tied behind our backs and a bullet in the back of our heads, because this time we deceived the wrong people. We died in convulsions and strokes. We were dying damned, disgraced and abandoned. If we were women, then we died humiliated, because women are much more demanding of themselves. We tried our best. And we were dying. And no one mourned us. And worst of all, for every one who died, there were a hundred or even a thousand of us who wanted to die. Who thirsted for death. Who fell asleep, praying not to wake up, because it was impossible to endure this pain. And we were confident that this would never change.
One day in a New York hospital, one of us experienced what the books call a "spiritual awakening." And he said to himself: "I have found the answer!" No. He only had part of the answer. I have to share this, he decided. And he tried as best he could. But we didn't hear him. And we were dying. We were dying from the last soothing cigarette, lighting which we passed out, and our mattress caught fire. They said about us that we suffocated even before our bodies were burned, and that we did not feel anything. To die in this way was the best thing that could happen for us ... though sometimes our family died with us.
Another New Yorker was sure he knew the answer. He tried to prayerfully bring us to sobriety. But this did not work either, because prayer confuses alcoholics. He tried. And we were dying. One by one, we gave him hope and then broke his heart because we always do that. But the worst part was that every time we thought we already knew the worst, something even worse happened. This lasted until that day came in the lobby of a hotel that was not in Rome, not in Jerusalem, not in Mecca, not in Dublin, or even in Boston. It happened in Akron, Ohio from all places! The day came when the alcoholic said: "I need to find another alcoholic because I need him no less than he needs me." Now he found the answer. And now, after so many years, the transmission channel was opened ... Now we do not go to the priests, we do not go to the doctors and to people with letters after their names. We go to those who were there. We go to each other. And we are trying. And we can never die anymore!
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