Alcoholism, the Scourge; An alcoholic – Bearer of the Cross

This is the seventh and the final part by Lyle Prouse

I hope some may have gained a little understanding about a most difficult and complex disease – alcoholism. Sometimes called “the disease of a thousand faces.”

I considered a brief explanation of the disease itself, the three axes it affects (I think that’s the plural of axis, isn’t it?), and some of the science behind all this. The problem is that there isn’t any way to do it “briefly,” so I’ll leave it where it is.

The only one who really has to really understand it is me, since I’m an alcoholic and will either live WITH this disease…or die FROM it.

In the final analysis, giving up alcohol (and any other mood altering substance) becomes a small price to pay for the life I live today. I’m asked to do one small thing…refrain from ingesting something that’s become toxic to me. Other than that I can go anywhere and do anything on the face of the planet that others can do. I can climb mountains, fly airplanes, drive race cars, hunt and fish with my son, watch sunrises and sunsets – and laugh and hug my wife and my grandkids.

In the telling of my story, I neglected to mention that the beautiful 20 year old girl who pinned my gold wings and USMC second lieutnant bars on me is still with me. When the devastation blew our lives apart she never flinched…she just continued to believe in me.

I entered treatment the day after my arrest…on my 27th wedding anniversary. The 20 year old girl is now 63 and more beautiful than ever – and she is truly…the wind beneath my wings. She was there to pin the wings on her cadet in 1963…she was there when I lost them in the midst of disgrace and dishonor… and she was there to pin them back on for the final time.

I am blessed to have lived such a wonderful life and to have had such a great journey. I have received the most of something I know the least about – grace.

Blue skies, all, and goodbye…

You can read the complete account of Lyle Prouse’ autobiographical account of his tryst with law and his redemption against alcoholism in his book, “Final Approach“,  by ordering the book online at  


Permission of Captain Lyle Prouse to use his posts on an aviation forum for the purpose of this blog is gratefully acknowledged.

Grateful thanks to Brian Abraham for introducing me to the story of Lyle Prouse, and to Rob, Forum Administrator, for consenting to use the material on their forum for the larger public good for information and knowledge dissemination.