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"A Teen-ager's Decision"
(p. 353 in 3rd edition.)
Stopped in Time
"Just three years of drinking
pushed a shy, lonely young girl to the depths of depression.
Out of sheer despair, she called for help."
Lisa's story was first named
"The Story of Lisa" in an early printing of "Young People
She began to drink at fifteen,
and never drank socially, but always as often as much as
she could. She wanted to drink herself to death. It seemed
that her whole life had been spent on the outside looking
in. She had been unhappy, lonely, and scared for so long
that when she discovered alcohol it seemed to be the answer
to all her problems.
But it became a painful
answer as hangovers, blackouts, trouble, and remorse set
in. She recounted driving her parents' car down a bank,
ramming the steel fence around someone's backyard. She was
informed the next morning that she had not behaved like
her shy, quiet self. She remembers lying on a cold cement
floor shredding into little bits several pieces of stolen
identification cards, and washing her face in the toilet
bowl trying to sober up, and screaming hysterically while
clinging to bars too high to see out of and cursing everyone
that came near her.
She lost her driver's license
and became a ward of the court, and was put on probation.
None of this impressed her.
Thinking that school was
interfering with her drinking, she ran away from home, despite
the fact that she was near graduation and her mother was
sick in a hospital.
She recounts hitchhiking
with a friend to Las Vegas from Washington State, spending
a month drinking, taking drugs, and finding shelter where
they could and accepting meals from anyone, begging and
stealing anything they needed. They were arrested and her
friend was institutionalized for eight months. But Lisa,
who had turned eighteen during the trip, and was allowed
to return home to a pair of miserable, hurt parents.
She began to hate herself,
and drank primarily to ease her conscience and forget. But
things got progressively worse. Finally, she began to take
a good look at herself: she had managed to drink her way
through all her friends, had no one in the world to talk
to, was increasing guilt ridden and depressed. She was too
weak to continue this day-by-day suicide.
Thank God she knew of A.A.
and called. She had no idea what would happen, she just
knew she didn't want to live if life was going to go on
like it was.
At the time she wrote her
story she was counting her blessings, instead of her troubles.
A.A. became a way of life and living for her. It brought
about a revelation of self, the discovery of an inner being,
and awareness of God. She wouldn't give it up or trade it
for anything. And knows "the only one who can take it away
from me is me -- by taking that first drink."