The winds of change are blowing for Lorna and Chuck. Batten down the hatches and be prepared for a more serious moment from Lorna’s life story…

 

Are you getting a good feeling about these blowing, changing winds? I'm not.

 

Exactly two days (and probably as many words between us) from the 1984 Valentine’s Day Meatloaf Massacre, vodka and I parted ways.

I didn’t plan to stop drinking–quite the contrary. It was a normal day for me. The moment Chuck left for work, I began to blur reality with daytime TV and vodka.

Keeping up with the the "soaps" became a full-time job. Vodka relieved the stress of that drama and pressure to keep the crooked plots straight. All those years of higher education sure came in handy in sorting out whose baby was whose.

That evening something happened to disrupt my dulled-down world—a neighbor’s house caught on fire. I knew it wasn’t a booze-induced hallucination because both Chuck and I heard sirens. 

I imagine it looked something like this. I had the common decency not to go outside and take a picture or offer assistance in my inebriated state.

Curious/Concerned Chuck dashed outside to assess the situation. He reported back and encouraged me to come out so I could stand among the other Curious/Concerned Neighbors in a show of spectator support. I declined, telling him Humphrey looked upset and needed company. I also reasoned that more people on the street would only get in the way of firefighters doing their job. He rushed back out, either ignoring me or agreeing with me.

Some people can't resist playing with fire. This kind of thing would just hamper the efforts of those brave firefighters. They'd have to watch.

My reasons for staying inside had nothing to do with Humphrey or my civic duty to keep the area clear. I had a rare Chuck-free evening and I wanted to take full advantage of it to drink. And I did.

He would pop in every now and then to bring the people outside refreshments and supplies: cookies, coffee, blankets, towels—anything we had that may help on a cold, damp February night. I’d ask how things were going. He’d report that the house was going to be a total loss and how sad it all was. Then back he’d go. I’d drink some more, knowing he’d be gone for a least 15 minutes.

It's perdy serious Lil Lady. I reckon I best git back up there before things git too far outta hand. They're countin' on me.

I was sitting on our living room couch about 2 hours into this situation and began a woozy kind of pondering. One very clear question made its way through my hazy brain: Who am I? I was kind of glad that the neighbors had a crisis so Chuck would be out of the apartment and I could drink freely. I was self-centered, heartless, and deceitful—not the qualities I wanted others to think of when they thought of me.

Good grief! I turned into Lindsay Lohan and she wasn't even born yet.

Shamed to the core, I started sobbing. Alcoholics in recovery always talk about their “bottom”—the event so bad they could no longer deny their addiction to alcohol. That was my bottom.

Everyone's "bottom" is different. At least I hadn't sunk so low that I was a complete gonner.

Chuck came in, looking for more things he could hand out to people shivering outside. He saw his wife in a tearful, messy lump on the sofa. This got his attention. I wasn’t able to speak for several minutes. Both concerned and frustrated, he asked what was wrong.

My face is more oval and skin tone more peach--but the blue eyes are spot-on.

When I was able to eek something sounding like words between my sobs, I told him I’d been drinking heavily since my birthday, that I knew I had a serious drinking problem and I didn’t recognized myself any longer.

That could be me on our 10th anniversary, if my liver held out that long.

Once again, he surprised me. He said he suspected as much. I guess I wasn’t as clever as I thought. Most alcoholics aren’t.

This time the deal was that I had to go to Alcoholics Anonymous. He stood there as I shook like Jello in a running toddler’s bowl and watched me call AA to find out the details of The Program. I was on my way to becoming an alcoholic—before, I was just a girl who drank too much.

Dialing a phone is amazingly difficult when you're scared, drunk, and have a phone with no dial.

Does AA work for our A+ girl? And what further strings does Chuck attach to Lorna’s sobriety?