Wednesday, 16 December, 2009 5:07 PM
to Alcoholic to "Adventure"
Addict Recounts Fall From Grace With Offbeat Humor
Alcoholic's Guide to Adventure by William Rutger
& Experts Syndicate
Rutger doesn’t just dance to the beat of a different drum.
He smacks the drummer in the head with the sticks.
In his autobiography, Rutger recounts events from his bizarre
life such as buying a $6,000 billboard to memorialize his dog
Clifford, blowing what he called a “Biblical Blood Alcohol
Level” of a .316 (named for the famous verse John 3:16),
and spending a week in jail thinking of it as a vacation. His
portrayals are found in The Alcoholic’s Guide to Adventure
from Booksurge (www.booksurge.com).
“I cannot even imagine a better vacation than jail, given
my life situation at the time,” wrote Rutger, who was
jailed for 7 days after his second DUI conviction.
His real life had been a downward spiral involving creditors,
lack of work and a darkness that resulted in binge drinking
until he’d pass out, so spending a week not having to
deal with the real world was a relief for him. During that week
in Pinellas County, Florida’s minimum security lockup,
he made friends, played chess, watched many “Reba”
sit-com episodes on the Country Music Channel, and talked to
many of the regular inhabitants of the 49th Street Jail.
“It seems to me that if you are in a downward spiral like
I was, you should be allowed to check yourself into jail in
advance of driving drunk to get there,” he wrote. “Just
like Otis in The Andy Griffith Show. The main difference between
jails and college is that jails don’t have mascots. If
I had to go back to jail, I would form a fraternity and we would
call ourselves the 49th Street Filers, prepared to take on all
Rutger balances the humor of his unique journey with remembrances
of his father and son, who both passed away at different times
in Rutger’s life. In the book, Rutger writes letters to
them that he cannot read to himself without breaking down into
He also remembers his dog, Clifford, by reprinting a St. Petersburg
Times article about the billboard Rutger bought to commemorate
his dog’s passing at age 14 (98 in dog years). In the
article, Rutger described how Clifford had become more of a
fixture in Anclote Key bars than most of the patrons.
“Clear Channel wasn’t quite sure what to think of
me when I made the request for the billboard,” he said.
“And that’s just fine with me. It’s like the
t-shirts I had printed and started selling recently that say
‘Your dog is an alcoholic.’ People who have always
been sober don’t know what to think. For me, it’s
a symbol – you know you’ve hit rock bottom when
your dog hits rock bottom with you. Rabbits walk right by his
nose and he just sighs and looks away. ‘Don’t bother
me, you rabbits, unless you’ve got a beer.’”
About William Rutger
William Rutger is an attorney who battled alcoholism most of
his adult life, and at age 52 achieved sobriety and began rebuilding
his life. He lives with his wife in Clearwater, Florida.