I got a little apartment just a couple of blocks away from my home group. It was the dumpiest place I have ever lived. But I loved it. It was mine. I could easily afford it on my disability check. It was one of those apartment complexes full of AAs. I knew a lot of my neighbors. I got very close to several of them. We would walk en masse every morning to the 7:30 meeting. And hang out afterwards. It was nice.
Somehow my husband talked his way back into my life. It might have been because I loved him, who knows why this happened, but it did. Obviously, nothing changed. But I was commuting between northern Washington and Denver. I wouldn't give up my apartment, thank God, so I always had a place to go. But the emotional upheaval was tremendous.
Some time during this year, my sponsor called me and asked me if I was sitting down. I was. She told me she was drinking. I could not believe it! This woman had been a superstar of AA... she knew all the "right" people out in California. I thought I was hooked up with AA royalty with her... and here she was, drunk. I was flabbergasted. I sought a new sponsor and my only qualification was that she not be some old prissy Christian hag who was going to shove her religion down my throat. There was a woman I disqualified just because she wore a cross around her neck.
So I picked Eva. Eva was from Mexico. She was sober 15 years and went to a meeting every day. She was truly an AA member. She cussed like a sailor and I suspected she was a lesbian. English wasn't her first language, it was barely her second language, but she did punctuate nearly every sentence with the word "fock." I thought she would be great.
The first time we got together, she floored me when she asked me "You're Catholic, aren't you?" to which I responded "yeah." She then asked me how long I had been sober and I told her "seven years," to which she responded, "don't you think it is about time you go back to church?" I could NOT believe it. My best effort to avoid this whole topic brought me right here to this pivotal moment. And I saw the hand of God in it.
I went to Church for the first time since I was in my teens. I heard lots of good stuff there, which I swore I never had before. I met with the priest and got lots of help from him. I wasn't quite ready to hop in totally, heart and soul, but I was testing the waters, and found it was quite inviting.
I kept trying to return to Washington to live with the husband. I was going to Alanon and trying to figure out how I could take responsibility for myself and butt out of his life and learn to live with this situation. Alanon says that no situation is ever hopeless. I wanted to believe that. I wanted to BE the right person, not find the right person. I kept telling myself that love was an action, not a feeling. I tried so hard. So impossibly wrongly hard.
I celebrated my 8th birthday at my group in Washington. I loved so many people there. I was grateful to be there, but very very conflicted, because I knew I needed to go home. There will always be a very soft spot in my heart for this beautiful valley and the wonderful people in it. When I think of it, I think of the soft air, so full of humidity, so low in altitude, so full of the scent of moisture and flowers and trees. I would walk every day under cedar trees, it was incredible. But I didn't belong there. And I certainly didn't belong with that man who was continuing to hurt me. But I wasn't done until I was done.... And I wasn't done yet.
I would tell you what I wrote on my eighth birthday, but it is all about an argument that broke out at Burger King after the meeting... between my husband and a man he didn't like. It was heartbreaking for me... but I was getting used to heartbreaking.
Can you stand to read much more of this? It is hard. It is hard to write. This is SO not who I am today. I am incredibly grateful. But this is where I have been. It is good to remember, because it seems like another person entirely. Thank God.