Public Humiliation

I was a member of a youth group as an adult leader. One of my duties was to set up a public awareness display at the local exhibition day. All the equipment was delivered on time and was sitting in a heap at the site.

I had taken a day off work to organize everything on the day before the show. However, I decided to have a few beers as well and that ended everything.

That evening I passed out in the Darwin casino and was awakened by a security man kicking me in the thigh. I got up and went back to the bar. Eventually I somehow got home and woke up late in the morning.

Going to the exhibition site I noticed that my skin had no memory. I could pinch a piece of skin and it would stay puckered, not returning to its normal shape. I had drunk so much I was dehydrated with little moisture in my skin. I was as dry as a bone – so to speak.

When I got to the site I began to put things in place. I was alone until another leader turned up. He took one look at me and said I was in no condition to represent the youth group. He left. I then began to vomit violently while being watched by people attending the show. I put away all the gear and left.

On the same day I had to see my lawyer about my divorce. He took one look at me and asked if I was an alcoholic. My eyes were red and watery, my skin was clammy and smelly and I was finding it hard to focus. “Of course not,” I replied, “I thought I was once, but I can control it now.” He shook his head and finished the interview.

I left and went to have a hair-of-the-dog at the nearest bar.

I never went back to the youth group and my divorce was finalised quickly.

The next week I went to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. I was ‘nearly’ ready to stop drinking.

Alcoholism takes away all the things that are nearest and dearest to the alcoholic. I loved my wife and kids, I had a great affection and respect for the work of the youth group. But, I still had more to lose.


The Forgotten Virtue (Strength for Life) What 35 Years of Running Have Taught Me About Winning, Losing, Happiness, Humility, and the Human Heart (Daybreak Books)


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