Remembering Life’s Most Important Day
July 13, 2009
I write this because I am inspired by the date that occurred over the weekend . . . July 11. It holds a very special significance for me.
It was on July 11, 1969 that someone I know all too well celebrates as the last day of his life. Knowing I can’t do justice to the emotions he felt on that day, and the days leading up to it, I will try to share the pathos, the trepidation, the fear, and even the hope this fellow had.
Rather than continue referring to this gentleman without any name, let’s give him a name, a very common name; let’s call him Bob. Why not? When he was born, boys were mostly called Bill, Tom, Dick, and, of course, most of all they seemed to be called Bob.
Nothing wrong with the name. Actually, he was named Robert, but we Americans can’t seem to call people by their full name. William is never William, it’s Bill. Thomas is never Thomas, it’s Tom. And, of course, Richard is always Dick.
Now that we’ve got that unneccesary badinage out of the way, let’s get back to Bob. Bob was at the end of his rope when he awoke on the 11th of July. He was sick of a wife he never should have married, a career that didn’t seem to be going anywhere except off the tracks, but most of all, he was sick of himself.
Sick that he was a prisoner of booze.Yes, he finally admitted to himself he was an alcoholic! But what to do? He tried many times to stop drinking, but he couldn’t. Maybe because he was never arrested and charged with a DUI he thought maybe he wasn’t really an alcoholic. Because he wasn’t fired for being drunk on the job, maybe he wasn’t really an alcoholic. Because he didn’t get mean and beat his children nor even his wife, who deserved to be beaten, but she was not even touched!
Oh, he could find many phony reasons why he wasn’t really an alcoholic. But, he knew he could no longer fool himself. He was truly a slave to liquor and if he didn’t stop on the 11th of July, l969, he didn’t have any hope of finding himself and escaping the prison of the bottle.
That’s when he made the most important phone call of his life. He worked up the courage to call the number he had carried in his pocket for weeks . . . the phone rang two times and then Bob heard the voice on the other end. The voice was a firm, deep, well modulated voice. It did sound judgmental and it didn’t emit a false cheerfulness. The voice was reassuring. It told Bob there was hope. The voice said he is not a phony and this is not a phony organization. But, above all, the voice said, “There is hope here and sobriety is yours if you want it.” And boy, did Bob want it.
That is why 40 years after making that phone call, he still knows that 7/11/69 is the most important day of his life. And if anybody is suffering from the insidious, destructive disease, there is hope and you don’t have to go too far into the alphabet to find it.
You need only begin with the letter “A” and then add another “A,” and you’ve got it. Get it? Alcoholics Anonymous, or A.A.
How can I be so sure? Who do you think that guy I was writing about with the name Bob was?