You Kept Your Promise

I recently had a story published on which makes me quite happy. This is the second time the Grapevine has published one of my stories, the first time was in the magazine back in May 1998 Issue. I’ve reprinted the story below:

“You Kept Your Promise

I work the graveyard shift at the local treatment center. It’s a laid-back job with not a lot to do, and there are times when I wish something would happen just to relieve the routine. One night that’s just what happened.

A former resident called at two A.M., drunk as a skunk. He’d just been released the week before. He told me he’d always respected me and wished he could have what I had. He kept jumping from subject to subject but finally he said something that chilled me to the bone: “I have a gun. I just can’t live like this anymore.” I thought about myself having those same feelings before I sobered up. I remember feeling that hopeless. I tried to talk some sense into him which really didn’t work too well. He kept talking about how he liked my home group, the Eau Claire Pacific Group, how close we were, how family-oreinted. I kept telling him that AA could give that to him too. All I could do was share with him what AA had given me, how it had radically changed my life for the better. After this conversation had gone on for a while, he said he had to find something else to drink and that he’d call me back. I extracted a promise from him that he would call. When we were off the phone I called the police.

When he called back, he agreed to go into detox if I’d send a bunch of people from AA up to see him in the hospital. I agreed readily. I started to tell him about the program of action  I’d been shown in the Big Book. He said he’d never experienced any of that. He hadn’t done any of the Steps except in treatment. He said he’d be interested in trying our solution but still wasn’t convinced it would help him.

The police managed to trace the call, found him, and escorted him to detox. I started to call the people in my home group at six A.M., and didn’t stop until iI had gone through all my phone numbers. When I got off duty, I went straight to the hospital. It amazed me how fast he had deteriorated; he was hardly recognizable. The alcohol was just oozing out of his pores. When he saw me, he was astounded. “You kept your promise!” Throughout the day, fourteen more men from AA went up to see him. He was in detox for two or three more days, and by the time he left you could see that little spark of hope in his eyes had grown a thousand fold.

Today this man is a member in good standing in our group. His family is slowly getting on the right track, and he attends three to four meetings a week with commitments at all of them. His little stay at the hospital opened up the doors for AA to continue to help drunks there. Every tie the hospital gets a drunk who needs help, they call us and we send a troop of AAs over there to carry the message. So helping that one drunk has led us to help countless more.

James A. Eau Claire, Wisconsin”

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