Sunday, January 15, 2012

My Boyfriend's Brother

I went to a meeting this morning and heard an old friend describing being called to the bedside of another old friend - while they "pulled the plug."  He did not die.  But as she talked, I began to recognize the person she was speaking of.  She never said his name, and she did not refer to him as her ex-husband, which he is... but after the meeting I asked her and she told me that indeed it was him.  He is on his last leg.

When I was sober a little over three years, I was dating a man who was sober a lot longer than I.  One day I asked him why he had a thirty day chip on his key ring when he was sober much, much longer than that.  He told me about his brother.  He was in prison at the time, but at one point had stayed sober for 30 days.  After he got drunk, he gave his chip to his brother.  And he kept it as evidence that the "program really works."  When the brother got out of prison, he came to AA (as frequently people do), and got sober for a while.  He was movie star gorgeous and quite arrogant.  We were friends anyway.  He married a friend of mine.  He was my boyfriend's brother.  We was in my home group.

After a couple years, he got drunk.  He was a BAD drunk.   Even though he was only in his thirties, he had a couple of heart attacks and strokes.  He moved away.  He would call from time to time and we would talk.  He had speech problems due to the strokes, but I could understand him - with great effort.   I haven't heard from him for a number of years now.

Imagine that, he just wants to die.  And it always seems like drunks who really WANT to die take a long damn time to do it.

This disease takes everything away from us.  Everything.

Yesterday I went to my daughter's birthday meeting.  It was at a group I have never been to.  When I was driving there, it occurred to me that this is the only meeting in the city that still allows smoking.  I don't know how they got to be exempt from the city-wide ban on smoking, but they did.

I walked into the meeting and was hit with a nostalgia so powerful, I almost dropped to my knees.  The smell of an AA meeting!  I believe that "smell" is my primary sense.  Fragrances are far beyond cosmetic to me.  I always used to say that the "perfume" of an AA meeting was my very favorite - cigarette smoke, coffee, cologne, and body odor... all mixed together into a single olfactory delight.

I haven't smoked for over 20 years now.  It has been five or six years since I have been subject to sitting in a room with smokers.  It was unbearable.  Every person in that room was smoking like a chimney - just like I used to.  I think smoking might be becoming the most impermeable social barrier.  I could not hang out with any of those people.  It is not snobbery, it is just impossible.  Thank God my daughter can go there and smoke her little brains out.  Once again, I am grateful for my experience to draw on.  If not for that, I might suggest to her that she is not really "sober" if she is still indulging in an addiction.  But I believe that smoking saved my life in those early years of sobriety, so far be it from me to suggest anyone else should do what I couldn't.

Last year and the year before, my daughter celebrated her birthday at a huge group that has huge birthday meetings every Friday night.  This year, she was at a noon meeting and it was much smaller.  A few of the people from her other group drove across town to be there.  It was good.  I see it as growth.

It's a winter Sunday.  I am watching playoff games.  The Broncos are out.  The game was abysmal last night, but early in the season when they were 1-4, if you had suggested that they would be in the second round of the playoffs, I would have been thrilled.  So I am thrilled with my team and one young man in particular, who happens to be the quarterback.

My daughter-in-law is taking me out for dinner tonight.  How nice.  She is a lovely girl and I am so grateful my son brought her into our lives.  And imagine!  A little baby girl is the progeny of this union.  How much better could you get than that!

Sorry for the stream of consciousness here.  I sometimes do that when I am not in a hurry to get anywhere.  I am just as happy as can be, right here on the sofa, sitting with a football game playing on the TV (go Texans!!!!), and a fire in the fireplace.  Maybe a nap is next on the agenda.

So grateful for the grace of God and the program of Alcoholics Anonymous.  And giving time time.


dAAve said...

The Texans are down 6-17 as I type this.

Enjoy this day.

Lou said...

My feeling is people who are worried about addicts/drunks smoking have never seen their child lose 60 pounds in 2 months due to heroin or meth use.

Syd said...

I don't like to go to any places where there is smoking. It is way too unhealthy and is just plain stinks.
We had a nice fire today as well. Enjoy the day, MC. So glad for your daughter.

Have Myelin? said...

My daughter was trying to quit smoking when she should have worked on the other problem - alcoholism.

Furtheron said...

I'm not aware of any smoking meetings now around us - mostly since either the fact that where ever the meeting is is someones place of work and therefore it is illegal or simply the insurance company has a rule (which was what stopped most in the first place).

When I first came around 7 years ago there was one meeting near me that I regularly went to that was a smoking meeting. Actually the group had a rule of smokers one side of the room non smokers the other... Honestly only alcoholics! The smokers had their backs to the only windows so all their smoke blew over the non-smokers. One week I sat the other side of the table so that I was on the smokers side as I was convinced I'd get less smoke on me... nearly caused a riot!

Funny how quickly these things become the things of nostalgia though - esp since that meeting moved venue, loss members and had to sadly close eventually.

ScottF said...

hi MC :-) you sure covered LOTS of ground here lol.

As a depressed Browns fan, I congratulate you on the Broncos great season. However, I cannot in good conscience congratulate the Broncos themselves lol (John Elway ripped my heart out too many times lol). I really like your QB!

I t would've been very difficult for me to stay in that smoking meeting, even though 11 years a go I would've been right there smoking with them.