(p. 353 in 3rd edition.)
They 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 and A.A.”
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.”