At the apartment, we found an unshaven, grey-haired man sitting in a shabby recliner. He had an (36) ______ grin on his face. His hands were (37) ______ trembling, and the place stank of bottles. A big part of my job as a New York City Fire Department emergency medical technician was picking up drunks-"frequent flyers." Typically, they were (38) ______ , annoying, uncooperative characters. On this call my partner told the patient he needed to (39) ______ himself together and stop drinking. He just sat there. As I took his blood pressure, he looked me in the eye. That look gave me the (40) ______ . A second later his hands stopped shaking. He (41) ______ and died. After work I went to see a movie with a bottle of Jack Daniel's and got (42) ______ . The way he'd looked into my eyes, it was as if he'd known that I often went to the movies to get drunk; as if he (43) ______ that I, too, had a big drinking problem.
And then one day I stopped. (44) ______________________________________________________________ . I said I was a social drinker. "Meaning what?" he asked. "One or two drinks a week?" "Well, 15 or 20 a day" I said. (45) _______________________________________________________________________ . It took just one step. That was five years ago.
I still remember the look the old man gave me in the last moments of his life. (46) ____________________________________________________________________ . He may be gone but, as long as I'm around, he will never be anonymous.