I Know, I Could Hardly Believe It Myself
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.