Sunday, January 15, 2012
My Boyfriend's Brother
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.