From the looks of it, Matilda, we ain't gonna have ta worry 'bout you fallin' off the wagon. The dang wagon done fell out from under us. Ain't that the darnest thang?

Does Lorna stay on “the wagon” with a little help from her AA friends, ride “the wagon” alone, or flip off “the wagon” like she did on those blasted monkey bars?

I promised to go to AA. True to form, I made another promise without knowing anything about what I was getting into. The AA-ers said 30 meetings in 30 days, so that’s what I did. Before I developed lung cancer from the second-hand smoke I asked some AA-ers about different meeting places and times. There were AA meetings in the greater D.C. area running 24-7 in more places than there are casino slot machines in Vegas. Stopping drinking was an epidemic in that city.

I found non-smokers’ meetings in non-churches. That helped to reduce my truancy fantasies. I tried meetings at different times of the day and different venues, hoping to find less fanatical obsessive zealous ardent members. No luck. All were kind and really, really helpful; all were stuck in their pasts hoping not to screw up their futures, but really shaky on that probability. Shouldn’t I be hanging out with more confident people?

Where was this upbeat fella when I needed him to tell me that I, like Mary Tyler Moore, was going to make it on my own? Cue uplifting music and hats being gleefully tossed into the air.

I had plenty of time to contemplate my alcoholism during those meetings. I listened to the lecture on whichever laudible-but-never-to-be-completely-accomplished Step, but tuned out Story-Telling Time. Where were the DT’s I was supposed to have? I drank enough alcohol that I should’ve had some physical withdrawal period, but I didn’t. They warned me about the constant urge to drink–something I would fight every day of my life. It was that kind of uplifting message that created the only constant urge I had: to get away from these people and get on with my life. I sealed off the door to my drinking-past. I was an alcoholic who would never drink again and I knew it as sure as I was breathing smoke-free, donut and coffee scented air.

This shield protected me from the all the toxic stuff swirling around me. To this day, I have it and use it regularly. I call it my Serenity and Hairdo Preservation Shield. It's one-of-a-kind (like me) so don't bother checking for one on e-bay.

Chuck went with me during the evening meetings. He wanted/needed to know more about alcoholism. Knowledge = power, right? I think he also wanted to know what signs to look out for should I return to the bottle. Who can blame him? I told him he had nothing to worry about. The only time I thought about alcohol was during those blasted meetings. I never wanted another drop of alcohol in my body, knowing it acted like a pull-pin on a grenade. I was and always would be an alcoholic, but never a drinker. He had serious doubts.

When the 30-day sentence was over, Chuck asked me to keep going to meetings regardless of my begging assurances that I was better off without them. We settled on once a week meetings and eventually found a meeting held more like a stand-up routine, with an entertaining speaker doing his schtick on one of the Steps for 45 minutes. He was the only story-teller. We both enjoyed attending the program called “Sunday Morning Live,” a parody of “Saturday Night Live.” Being able to quickly exit the “show” that was held in a hospital amphitheater was a real plus.

Look at me dashing out of the AA meeting in my "Sunday Best" dress. I carried my own lunch box because I didn't think donuts were good for my waistline. Hope I don't slip with those no-grip patent leather shoes...

The meetings were unnecessary. I experienced, what people in “the business” call, “spontaneous recovery.” Well, some people in “the business” don’t believe in such a thing–like the Loch Ness Monster, Big Foote, or effective facial hair removal techniques. All I know is that one day I couldn’t imagine a day without vodkathe next day, I couldn’t bear the thought of the stuff. Poof! Just like that.

Hey, you think it was easy as "poof-a-loof" and a wave of my magic stick? I had some major dickerin' to do with the...well, let's just say you owe me BIG TIME, Missy!

My new problem was that my husband didn’t trust me. How do you convince someone you’re not doing something? I guess you keep not doing it, which is exactly what I did.

Okay, I know what you're thinking. But I'm actually putting this cookie back. I saw it on the floor and I knew it didn't belong there. What? You don't believe me? Why don't you believe me?

Why was Lorna seemingly “programmed to please” and  physically addicted to alcohol? It’s time travel backwards to gain a little perspective before we move to the next major event in Lorna’s life.