On a hot Sunday morning in July, 1980, following a week of heavy binge drinking and in great despair and hopelessness, I walked mile after mile through neighborhoods in the small Mormon community where I lived. As I walked, I observed many families leaving their homes to attend church. Even though I was filled with remorse and sorrow, I could still feel the goodness of these families. I realized that they had no idea of the sorrowful man who walked, with heavy burden, on the sidewalks of their neighborhoods. On that morning there arose within me a powerful conviction to someday write of my experiences as a Mormon alcoholic. (See page 85 of Perfect Brightness of Hope).
Contrary to the popular notion about my story, the intended audience for my “someday book” that morning was not the alcoholic or addict. It was just the opposite. The powerful desire I felt that morning was to someday help the “good person” —those with no clue about the plight of the alcoholic—to better understand this deadly disease and the plight of those who have it. I was filled with compassion towards the good people I saw that morning. I felt that if I could someday increase their understanding of me as an addict/alcoholic, I would also increase their compassion toward me, and others like me. (To be cont.)