A long-time member of my home group went out on vodka.  A person with many years of sobriety, a member with shares right out of the old E.F. Hutton advertisement, “When this person speaks, everybody listens.”  Boy!  Did we listen.  Big Book, Steps, all the literature and all the experience with a tremendous amount of humor and bravado.  He could tell a great tale.  Then, from out of the blue, he drank.


Or was it from out of the blue?  Here’s his story.


“I’d stopped going to meetings.  I didn’t have a sponsor and I wasn’t working the Steps.  While up at a headliner event at Lake Tahoe, I went to pick up a couple of drinks for my friends at the bar.  While walking back to our seats, the drinks sloshed on my hands and…. Quick as a flash, I licked it all up. 

Had it been water, I would have thought, ‘Oooh! Water! Nasty stuff!’ And wiped my hands on my trousers. But because it was vodka, and I didn’t want to ‘waste it,’ my hands went into my mouth and started the craving all over again.” 


That’s how it starts isn’t it?  The drink is simply the last point before we start drinking again. Like a train heading to the roundhouse, there are many stops along the way.  Those stops in AA are: going to meetings, sharing, commitments, reading, sponsorship, keeping in touch. “Alcohol is a subtle foe…Cunning, baffling, powerful” and patient!  Patiently awaiting a night as described above for a person without defense or stop gaps against the first drink.  He literally went off the rails.


What alcoholics forget with our broken rememberer is once we drink we let loose the craving.  Ahh, the craving!  The craving then sets us back on the Ferris wheel of round and round terror, bewilderment, and frustration.  And eventually, death.


And so it was with our friend who died of alcoholism about a year later.  He died as so many of us do.  Who knows where or with whom.  


“Mental twist,” “emotional twists,” and “twist of character.”  These and many more like them are referenced throughout our literature.  Could our texts be saying we are twisted people?  Probably from all the wine we drank, how ironic we have to untwist ourselves from the human corkscrews we have become! 


To clarify, here are a few of the mental twists foreshadowing a relapse:

1)  I can handle it.

2)  I'll show them, him, her.

3)  I miss the fun.

4)  It wasn't that bad.

5)  Life is passing me by.  I should have this, that, him, her.

6)  Is this all there is?

7)  One wouldn't hurt.  I deserve one.

8)  Next time, this time, it will be different.

9)  What's the use?

These describe the subtle insanity driving us to the first drink.


Once upon a time we had old-fashioned 8x12 AA statements typed in Edwardian script floating around the walls.  One was,


It means, if you are thinking of drinking, Think again. Think again. Think again.  After about the third time of thinking and remembering the devastation and the craving, chances are you won’t take that first drink, because you thought the drink through. 


Up ahead may be another drink, but not another recovery.  That’s what keeps us vigilant and active so nothing comes to overthrow us  “from out of the blue.”