Way back when, our (nice) cabin cruiser sat in a private little dock--all its own--on Rock Creek, right behind our house. On this boat was my favorite place to be, either making a run down the waterway toward Marco and beyond--or, short out-in-the-Gulf-of-Mexico trips.
I had taken and passed the Coast Guard Auxiliary Small Craft Course. I knew a little. To be honest--I knew TOO DAMMM LITTLE! But we got by, had many great days on the water, even did some (UGH!) fishing, mostly just Snook and Redfish, Flounder, and out in the Gulf, Grouper. I'm NOT a fisherman, but others in my family were line-throwers.
One wondrous sunny summer morning, my son Joe--his nickname was/is "Joe-Boats"-- between 2-3 years of age was playing in the back yard. Where does a boy go in the back yard, when his name is Joe-Boats? Well, he was climbing all over the boat. This was common, he just LOVED everything water and boat!
In the same area, I was enjoying my afternoon quart of vodka, reclined in a hammock. This was common. Minutes slipped by, peaceful moments of the type, "All is right with the world". The minutes of silent 'serenity' began adding up, when I sensed something 'not' right--I had not been hearing the laughing sounds of a child, Jo-Boats, playing around the yard.
I looked for him, my heart began to rev up to a speed fueled by adrenalin. Suddenly I realized, he must have fallen into the filthy water atop which rode our boat. Under the boat was about three feet of water, then a good foot or two of pure crappy mud. Believe me, I ran in my drunken stupor, mentally rushing into my "sober-up-quick" mode, and was standing above the dock and boat, peering down into the murkiness. About six inches of space separated our boat from the concrete dock, a slight breeze kept blowing the boat one way, then the next.
Peering at me from under the water, staring upwards, were two eyes wide open in fear, and a little head just below. He was submerged, then went under the boat completely, as it moved to close the space.
The rest of this story I had forgotten, but recently, Joe recalled it for me. I had jumped into the creek, fully clothed, wallet, glasses, watch, and all else still on me, reached under the boat as far as I could without drowning myself. The barnacles had taken deep root, and were cuttingly sharp. But I got hold of some fuzzy hair, attached to a fuzzy head, and pulled Joe and me to safety. We both sprawled upon the grass, hind of spent. I was so happy, I cried...sobbed.
And for the first time in many years, I prayed fervently a "Thank You" to the Almighty God, Who saved my son that more-than beautiful sunny summer morning.
This was before sobriety had even occurred to me. Before it was evident to me that being in a continuous state of inebriation around the clock, with fitful by-the-hour sleep, was NOT a normal way to live. It was another eight months before my first meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. And, here I am. "Do with me what you will, just tell me what to do." These were my words to the gang at my second meeting. "Tell me what to do"...and they did. And I did.
In gratitude to this beautiful program of AA, these God-given Twelve Steps, the members who have gone before me and given of themselves unselfishly, and finally now..........you bloggers. How could one be more blest than I?
Note to Carmen: the following line is for you, too!
In peace, friendship, love and service,