- A Spiritual Awakening -
     Sloshing through a few inches of snow on February 12th, 1998, I entered the six-story VAMC in Iron Mountain, Michigan a beaten down active alcoholic.  Wearing my favorite Detroit Tiger cap, I approached the admittance clerk carrying all my possessions (a small green suitcase, brief case, and an overnight shaving bag).  She stated for I to sit in the waiting room until my medical records could be retrieved from the records room.
     What brought me here?
     This maybe hard to believe, but I do know today that it was my Higher Power, or God of my understanding, that was watching over me.
     You see, I had been living on the streets for the third time in the past twelve years.  My life as an active alcoholic, had progressed from the beginning of drinking at age nineteen to my current age of forty-eight.  My tolerance level for alcohol consumption had hit the peak, and was now on the down slide.  My brain and nervous system were gradually being destroyed.
     Did I want to die?
     Yes I did.  Or, I can say that I had many visions of dying to escape this life of misery.  I had numerous thoughts on how to commit suicide.  I know that I was attempting to drink myself to eternal sleep.  I was living a life in total depression.
     As I sat in the waiting room to be called upon, my body began to experience the oncoming DT's.  No sooner did the shakes erupt throughout my body, did I lose complete control of all faculties.  What transpired in the next ten to fifteen minutes saved me from that eternal sleep.  I was rushed down the hall in a wheel chair to the treatment room and placed onto the examine table.  Nurses were rushing in and out.  One nurse removed my shirt while another nurse placed suction cups across my shirtless chest, that had wires leading to a heart machine of some kind.  A third nurse was taking my blood pressure, while a fourth nurse was constantly talking to me to stay conscious.  A doctor had been summoned to come and take charge of the situation.  I was administered some kind of shot to quell my body shakes, as a lab technician drew blood for further examination.  I was subdued and wheeled up to the third floor detoxify ward and placed onto a bed.
     What made me choose this time and date to come to the VA?
     At about 10:00 a.m. I entered a favorite tavern in town and ordered a mug of beer.  I was alone with the bar owner and faced a 52" screen TV.  I had all my possessions with me as I stared at the huge screen.  The bar owner was in the process of cleaning the bar area.  He had then stated that he had to go to the back bar for a few minutes, leaving me all alone. As I sat now staring at my mug of beer, I felt this urge to turn around on the bar stool.  My vision fell upon a hanging pay phone on the wall.  A voice in my head told me to make the call.

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