Happy New Year
It's the year of the Tiger.
Himself: Played computer games until it was time to go to the Automotive Museum. Check out all the tiny cars at his page. It’s a new show called, “Economy of Motion.” Friday he snuck to See’s and got me a pound of 80% truffles. “It was no truffle at all,” he says.
Herself: Let him go off to the museum, and I rushed around getting pants from the cleaners, gas in Grumpy, chocolate nuts at Sees, a card and dinner at Stumps.
Balance: Reading and Watching the Olympics.
What am I up to? I’m speaking at a speakers meeting, and my life is complicated by the fact that I remember so little of things. Oh, I write well. Thoughts seem to well up out of nowhere and flow out my fingertips onto the computer monitor with great ease. They make sense too. If I go to talk, not only am I tongue tied, I forget all I wanted to say, and my words flow out as gibberish. Ah, reality.
So I am pre-planning things in hopes this will work. It doesn’t mean it will, but I am giving it the old college try….
“Hi, I’m Maggie, and I am an alcoholic.” There’s a pause while they all say, “Hi Maggie.”
All these speakers start by telling you their sobriety date, so I looked mine up. You’d laugh. I can’t read my handwriting. So I’ll guess that it is May 28th, 1984.
The Geezer reminds me that I need to follow a formula…the problem is that I can’t remember that either. Perhaps the first thing I need to say is, “Don’t have a stroke.” Then I can move on to, “How it was. What happened, and how it is now.” Formula. I’ll Palinize those words on my hand and take them with me.
“How it was.” I was raised in an alcoholic household. I was a low bottom alcoholic and addict. I lost my home, my family, all the things I loved, my friends, and I lost myself into madness. Don’t be homeless if your home is a two seater sports car. Especially in the rain. I traded sex to sleep on a boat. I traded in a friendship to sleep in a tub. I was the cleanest homeless person you ever saw, but I didn’t drink my wine out of a box.
“What happened.” First the drugs stopped working. The streets talked to me, homes had pictures of who lived in them on the walls, sea weed turned into dead dogs, and the radio told me what to do. When my kids came back to live with me, I stopped doing drugs and slowly the alcohol stopped working too until my hangovers stretched into two day physical weakness, pain, shakes, and agony. By the time I neared the end of my drinking, I had a beyond-tiny cottage on the beach, the kids were out of the house, I had a car that was ten colors plus rust, and I had a part time job. The garage was rented out, the back room was rented, the sofa was rented out, and I could afford to drink and pay the rent too. One day the sofa lady brought a handsome, young, sober man to dinner.
“How it is now.” Pretty darned good….and I need to tell the listeners how it got that way.
I feel a need here to speak directly to the newcomer. This room has three groups of newly sober people bussed in to hear the speakers. In short pithy sentences, I need to say what worked and why it did. I can say that I did what was suggested…the long way around, and I wasn’t in charge. My higher power, some choose to call God, was and is in charge.
In the end, not simple stuff at all. Structured originally on the teachings of the Episcopal Church and the Oxford Group, AA’s twelve steps now reaches a far broader group of alcoholics, drug addicts…with meetings such as Cocaine Anonymous or Meth Anonymous, and other groups of people in need such as Debtors Anonymous or Sex Addicts Anonymous. It’s an amazing list.
Wikipedia quotes stats that say, “Although approximately two-fifths of people who participate in AA drop out within the first three months…,” it doesn’t say that many return. It doesn’t say that most of the men and women I drank with in the old days are either in the program or dead.
That’s the bottom line. My bottom line too….I wanted to live.