I’ve had a long running interest in addiction and recovery starting with alcoholic grandfathers. My paternal grandfather, according to all reports, was a gentle drunk. He came home from work every night and drank until bed. He died when I was three so the only memory I have of him is his funeral. My maternal grandfather was a mean drunk. My mother has only recently begun telling stories about how she grew up and they are completely at odds with the man I remember. Of course by the time I came along, he had mellowed and my uncle had stood up to him. I do remember him drinking a lot. When I was little, every time he opened a beer he would give me the tab (yes, it was that long ago) if I took the first sip. I hated the taste, but I wanted those tabs and I had enough to make necklaces with.
When I went to college, I was the designated driver because I didn’t drink. The fact that both my grandfathers were alcoholics and my early aversion therapy thanks to my maternal grandfather left me with zero desire to drink. However, my penchant for hanging out with musicians in bars, meant that I had a lot of contact with drinkers and drug users. Then I moved to Akron, right into the neighborhood where Alcoholics Anonymous was born. Every June, on Dr. Bob’s birthday, the city is overrun with recovering alcoholics and drug users. It’s quite the event.
Those interests, along with my running interest in musicians, led to this story. No one moment of epiphany. Lots of little moments and pieces that added up to be greater than their sum.
Alan’s story breaks my heart. I so wanted him to be happy that when it came time for him to find out the truth about Angie, I hated myself for putting him in the way of it.