It was everywhere I was. ((HELP ME!)) was the message in every bottle sent out from the shores of oblivion. It was in every blame, every angry spew. It wasn't the help I wanted, it wasn't the right kind. The loneliness of extreme self centeredness set in as I waited for someone to save me, make me like them, take me away from me. . Without the booze I was unbearable to be with. To look at, to see myself as I believed others saw me. It was written on every foggy bathroom mirror after my many failed attempts to wash myself clean. Scrub off my addiction. I was dirty, poison.
In the end? Full flight from any reality, a complete delusion took over. I was out of breath, no more visible messages. It was now all in my mind, the mind that could nolonger think... All rational thought gone, images of past hope? The charred words, my voice of reason unrecognizable now, smoldering. The constant alarm in my head , (BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! ) provided distraction in my chaos. Why all the stimulus? It's everywhere yet it's never the right kind. My mind spinning out and I am not moving.
I was not coming back this time, I could not come back. I'd been warned too many times, convinced myself and others I was ready to listen and done nothing. Used their words as ammunition against them. This was it, the full tilt hopelessness of untreated alcoholism surrounded me. The drink had become the wrong I could never make right. I couldn't fix this. Nobody could. The powerlessness, the fear, am I going to die today? I'm afraid to die with my life of unresolved issues hanging over me. Why? I mean really! Why am I like this! Why is this happening to me!
I'm already dead. Tell me I'm already dead.. Please just let me die. I can't take waiting another day. I get it now, I am alone forever, The trail has gone cold, no ones coming for me. I understand and all I can do is be sorry for what? I don't even know. But I'm sorry for everything. I cry out in desperation, giving what's left as a sacrifice in frothy emotional appeal! Can anyone hear me! Over here! In the pit of pity!
The girlfriend won't take me back. My mother? My poor "can you lend me 20 bucks" I promise to pay you back this time Mother..I can't talk to her like this. I'm way too ashamed. I'm a loser Ma, a drunk like your brother. I'm sorry.. This is low. My sister? How can I ask her for help when I'm supposed to be the big brother? No, I'm done. I can 't help myself. I have failed at life. All stop. Help is never coming. Why would anyone help me anyway. I'm useless, never have I amounted to anything. Should I kill myself or drink another day. I'll drink. But what to drink? Where can I get some booze? What drug to take? What drug is strong enough to take my pain away. Where can I weasel some drugs? I've tried everything. I don't even have any way to get money. I can't even steal it from anybody, I'm wearing my insides like a cheap suit. Anyone can see my game coming a mile away. I fear I have never been this low. This alone.
But help did come. Oh, not in any way or form I had anticipated or imagined but it was here. Help walked right in unannounced. Help is here. I am rescued, pulled from the deadly waters as a drowning man. It was AA. Alcoholics Anonymous! Who sent them to me? Who called the AA police? This Sober Salvation Army of recovery had seemingly sent a recon to check the building I was dying in. They heard I was there a day ago and were searching for life. I was still there. Seemingly picked up on a faint glow of infrared. They knew? He knew? Somebody knew I was there. I didn't even know who he was. He said he's alcoholic and goes to AA. I kept listening. I said keep talking, I think I need to hear this. He knew me, oh not by name no. He knew my sickness yet wasn't sick that I could see. He seemed to know my spiritless depths of blackening despair, sitting in the corner wishing for the end. He's been where I am? He knew of a way out? How is this possible?
When AA walks into the room well, if I could I would stand up. I had lost my legs and would never grow new ones. I could stand for nothing. I was handicapped now and in need of assistance. Someone to connect me. Talk to me while finishing my sentences, do my thinking. He told me he is there to help. Not only me but also himself. What does that even mean?
He spoke of an AA meeting not a few blocks away. He was going. We should go. I agreed and began to try to move toward the door. I was moving, I was going outside. This was happening.
We headed to a late morning meeting as if wounded seeking shelter from the battlefield. The burning sun melted me as a vampire exposed. I fought the August summer heat forcing one foot in front of the other, walking, keeping in step. I could hardly see anything beyond say 50 ft.. Sweating from the inside and burning from the outside. I had no alcohol today and was trying to cross the busy Hyannis main street. The cars were bumper to bumper creeping slowly but the fear was as if I was preparing to jump to my death. I saw myself and the cars, no scenario would work. I step off and am run over. That's it. People are staring at me telling me to go..do it! Now! walk across the street! I look both ways and immediately look both ways again unable to retain the safety glance of even seconds ago. Would I make it? Doubtful. I'm stuck. Frozen on the curb. I look left and then right. Looking right I cannot remember the left so I look again, Now I can't remember the right. My self centeredness screaming at me from everyone passing by. I can't do it! I can't cross the street! My new friend offered me a smoke and said we'll light them on the other side. He grabbed my shirt sleeve and we were moving into the labyrinth of death, I rub the bumper of a minivan full of faces. Touching the unknown, past the vacationing families. Past all understanding. As soon as I was across I didn't remember anything before or about crossing. I was captured by a group of people smoking together. I followed him past them and up the steps to the community center. The AA meeting was in progress. The so called "looney nooney"..I was here now. I told him I would go with him and I made it. I was here. I was at an AA meeting.
I stood in the doorway leaning. Everyone was listening to someone named Jake, a Hyannis local with an freakishly high pitched voice. I soon realized I was wearing a winter flannel shirt and the smell was billowing up through the open collar. That smell. That smell of rotting flesh. This was well past reasonable body odor, this was my body decomposing in the heat like bloated road kill. I was disgusting and my face was melting, I rubbed my forehead and something was pealing off on my hand or maybe my hand was pealing off on my forehead. I didn't even know this was happening until right now this minute! I wanted to run but where? I had nowhere else to go? Nowhere to hide? I was here now. Yes, this is where I am now. Let me regroup! Just stand here and don't touch my face.
Damn..I'm hardly sober, I passed out last night sometime as usual. I didn't drink this morning and had been hallucinating earlier assuming it was some kind of LSD flashback? All I wanted was to somehow keep trying and get to a razor blade in the next room but the floor had turned to clouds and the door kept moving and avoiding me whenever I tried to get close.. I hadn't bathed in days and was at the looney nooney AA meeting. Looney Nooney, whatever. It made sense. I'm looney? I didn't even care.
There was rustling of brown bag lunches and such, Burger Squab wrappers, an occasional attempt to politely disguise a potato chip crunch. I was amazed, food! People are eating? Who eats food in the daytime? My daytime is for booze and drugs, not food. Food is something I look for after I'm good and high or good and drunk. When I am anesthetized, when I can care for myself instinctively without caring for myself responsibly, or really? Just eat food without thinking about the person I'm feeding. Even the homeless crowd was there and looking pretty healthy. I was not them. I was not any of them. I was better than them. I was still as always just a nobody and a nobody is somehow neutral.. I was just there leaning in the doorway at the back of the room. Self centered to the extreme. Trying to plan my next move. This will be over and then what? What do I do then? and the constant reminder of "I'm flat broke" making the fear worse as I kept moving around in my mind from place to place. I've got nothing, no cigarettes, no nothing and no way of getting anything.. One things for sure though. I need to get rid of this shirt. I could feel sweat beads dripping down my back to my waist band underneath it. The back of my pants were soaked under the flannel shirt tail.
Now I know I must have stunk up the entire room, I had to. It was "that bad". But people hid it well. They walked by and smiled, said hello. Some put out their hand and said welcome and mentioned their name. I was lost. I was honestly lost. People everywhere. Talking, seeming like it was good to be there. I had no idea what was going on or what to do or how to act. Then my friend appeared thank Christ.
Come with us! There's another AA meeting in a few hours and awesome bologna sandwiches. An honorable mention of the famous Tuesday night bologna and white bread with yellow mustard buffet apparently. I laughed along ,not really understanding anything about it seemed to make little difference. I had no idea what he was laughing about. Food, all I heard was food. Sandwiches were food. I should eat. Yeah, I should eat.
Here, have some smokes, pay me back when you get some money. Yep. My new AA friend. Probably tired of smoking and having me staring at him drooling so he gave me a few. I think he likes me although not sure why.. Wonder what else he has besides smokes? Eh..Not much apparently. Not much too important going on with him or anyone he meets according to this tagalong or the other newbie that's coming along with us now... Just where's the next meeting. He said he keeps it simple. Don't drink, go to meetings. He cared little about my appearance, my racing mind or my breath. So this was AA. I'm here now. I'm in AA now. A member when I say I am, right? I was sure anyone else that had been to AA and lived to talk about it didn't know what I now knew in my terminal uniqueness or unchallenged selfishness? Selfishness was the topic at the 12 Step meeting and I have to say, I had no idea what they were talking about but later in the day I became an authority on the subject. Imagine that. After only one meeting, assuring myself I'm going to be ok. The whole sobbing alone down for the count mush head thing is just temporary. I became restored to brilliance, an exception to the rule as always. It didn't take long really now that I've sobered up. Nope, not much more than my 90 meetings in 90 days and I was my new version of my unaccountable self. The sober version. New and improved. They called it denial in AA. Everyone was in denial so it was ok. It was even a meeting topic. Denial. Denial doesn't seem so bad?
Meetings meetings meetings. Nothing can happen in a 24 hours that a drink or a drug won't make worse. Live and let live. One day at a time. Keep it simple. Join a group. Get a sponsor. No major decisions. 90 meetings in 90 days. No sexual relationship for a year. Go to a Dr. and get a physical. Ask for help in the morning and thank Him at night for the day sober. Get to the hall early and help set up. Stay for clean up. Pick up the butts. Welcome someone at every meeting.
As far as I understood? It's my turn to share at my regular men's meeting. I kind of know all these guys and like them. They like me too. I see them at other meetings.. Everybody drinks coffee at the Hearth and Kettle after the meetings. So, this is it? Tell a story? But my mind is blank. Say my name and I'm an alcoholic and get right to it? Get right to what? I can't even think right now! This isn't school, I'm not being graded. Well ok, this is what I think so far in the middle of my 90 meetings in hopefully 90 days. Don't worry about it just go ahead and do it...
Hi everybody I'm alcoholic. I'm a member of AA today and sometimes hour even minute by minute..
I always thought AA was for really screwed up people who were losing their wives or families, houses, or were too screwed up to drink anymore whatever that meant. Only the bottom of the barrel ends up in AA and just about everybody knows that! Over the years I'd hear things around the bar room gossip. Answers to questions, facts passed down from the all knowing 5 till closing bar tender. Or the old Korean War Vet guy who opened at 6 am. Basically anyone who served me my booze also served me my attitude and views on life. The bar tender was really my only connection to life outside my drunken mind. The bar keep was always everybody's pal except mine for some weird reason though so, we were never close friends or knew what went on outside the bar in each others lives. Like where we came from or went when we left at night. He acts skeptical sometimes, like he heard something bad about me. Like I didn't like sports, maybe wasn't a Red Sox fan like everyone else. Geeze, I don't mind the Red Sox it's baseball I don't like. My son plays baseball without me. Huh? Where did that come from. (cough).. Something big like that anyway, a sports thing.. Maybe he's jealous of me just because I'm better looking. Maybe he's jealous because he can't sit here and get drunk everyday like I do. Maybe he's not jealous and just doesn't like me. I drank with people who didn't like me all the time.
Anyway, he was everything, the 24 hour news channel, my connection to the outer world. The answer man.
So questions like.. what ever happened to Joe? The guy who always sat right under the TV? He goes to AA or went back to AA. He was supposed to go to AA all along? Uh-huh.. How about Tom getting arrested driving drunk, where's he now? Jail? Nope.. AA. And Bobby who got caught going behind the bar sneaking drinks? Where's he been? I liked him. AA too? Is this what happened to them? Weird. I hadn't seen them anywhere in AA and been going to two meetings a day for a couple of weeks now, even three on Sunday. How big is AA anyway. oops! I forgot about the anonymity thing, sorry.
Ok keep going, I get a nod from my AA friend at the table. I'm doing fine.
What it was like and what happened and what it's like now.. OK ten minutes left, what happened. Did I already cover what happened? Not sure. So, since I've been in AA I have work sometimes and have some money. My girlfriend took me back so I have a place to live. I'm feeling great and she says I have good skin color and have an appointment for the dentist. My family is weird so I don't go around there right now. Yet. But I'm sober today. I've got 74 days. I go to meetings everyday and I have been asking for help every morning. Asking a Higher Power for help. I have won pretty much all the books at meeting raffles so that's all good. Anyway if you can't get sober and your head is so screwed up that you can't understand what's happening, you just can't take it anymore? You can come to meetings like I did. It gets better. That's all I know. It gets better and when you think it can't get any better it gets better than that. Thanks for letting me share.