We settled into our seats in a lovely circle of chairs in a room next to a church that was filled with toys. It was a nursery school. Seemed weird, but I went with it. Then there was Peter P. Huh? He was going to tell his story. He was a local musician, who had been coming into the bar and ordering club soda lately. I had given him no small ration of crap about it too.
But first we had to go around the room and identify ourselves. Gulp. Then this guy George, says, “Hi everyone. My name is George and I’m an addict.” Everyone replies, “Hi George,” and he did something that to this day makes my eyes brim with tears. He smiled and said, “Hi family.” I was so shocked by my own unexpected emotional reaction, I was barely able to choke my name out when it came around to me as tears just added to the mess that was me. No one seemed to mind. Odd.
Then Peter told my story. I think I sat through that meeting with my jaw drooping and I wouldn’t be surprised if I drooled. I was so captivated by how this could be happening. How could this guy articulate what was in my head so perfectly? I had to have some of what ever shit they were smoking out back before the meeting. I was hooked from that first night. I have not had the need to let alcohol or drugs (save for a couple of medically necessary ones for surgeries and such) pass my lips since that night. Thank you Peter and Carol and George and Alvin and the many, many, many amazing souls who have come in and out of my life throughout recovery. Carol was my first sponsor. She died very young from breast cancer. I’ve had three sponsors die of cancer on me. That sucks. But they all went sober and showed me i could maintain some dignity and keep it real even in the face of death. No excuses now.
When I moved back to New Jersey, there was an old-timer here named Blind Charlie. He was ancient, which means he was probably 70, but when you are in your 20’s, anything over 50 seems really old. All us newbies used to ask him, “Charlie, how do you do it? How do you stay sober for THAT many years?” I don’t even know how long he was sober, but to someone with a year, it all seems miraculous. His answer? Wait for it . . . it was profound . . . “Kid? Just don’t drink and don’t die.” I laughed the first time I heard him say that, but well, there is some beauty in the simplicity of it all. However, beware the simple directions, they aren’t always so easily mastered. [keep reading, click on next page below]