Sunday Sundries – Relationships
It was reported by my sponsor tonight, that when he awoke this morning, up North, at the cottage, that the temps were in the low single digits. We haven’t seen single digits yet, overnight, but little by slowly, the nightly lows have dropped into the mid teens.
We need at least a week of (Tens) for the trees to trigger and begin to turn.
The weekend weather was stellar but will go down hill overnight and well into Tuesday.
We sat a full house tonight, and we got the read and the discussion all the way around the room, and a cake to go with it this evening, ending right on time.
The first section of Experience, Strength and Hope, deals with the stories that were collected and published in the first edition of the Big Book back in the late Thirties.
Those first one hundred sober folks, did not have the Big Book to read, nor Steps to work, nor any of the tools that we have at our disposal today. They had their long suffering wives, their children, and a sparse handful of men, who found the solution.
Within those first 100 sober folks, who counted days and months as something incredible, they only had each other and their story telling ability. It was the spoken word, shared between one alcoholic and another. That is an incredible thought.
A common story, told by an uncommon story teller.
A common theme runs throughout those early stories, that of the:
“Sodden drunk husband, and the long suffering wife with kids in the background.”
It came up in discussion tonight, how many of the wives mentioned in most of the stories, stay. They use all their powers of refusals, denials and threats to get their husbands to quit drinking. Those first stories speak about the wives getting very savvy and find the solution, and then physically driving their husbands to “Town’s Hospital” in New York City for treatment.
They do not mention “A” particular hospital, but we know from other sources that it is indeed Town’s that many a drunk end up in. From historical literature published much later, we learn about this system and how it worked.
Funny, that in the end, for many drunk husbands, it is the wife who figures out what to do.
Back in the day, one did not read, often, of divorce, but separation is common among the stories. Divorce, was a taboo subject, and was not reported often. Which led to the comments about relationships by some of our folks tonight.
Many of our women noticed the long suffering wife, who stayed by her man.
When I was born in the late 1960’s, alcoholism was rampant. We are three generations strong in the drink. I’m not quite sure if my brother perpetuated the drink, into his own kids.
None of the women in my family would have left their suffering husbands because of the drink. It seemed that those pesky wedding vows, kept them beholden to their sodden husbands, for better or worse, and in good time and bad. They accepted their lots in life and dealt with it each in their own ways.
My father had always told my mother, that she could never leave him, because she had no place to go, and would have no money to get there either. My mother was a captive Canadian wife, whom my father assimilated into American life. She would not have had the wherewithal to find a life on her own, even if she thought about leaving him.
Alcoholism was an evil scourge for us. And God forbid, anyone talk about it openly, or complain about the drunks, running amok in our lives. Nobody ever said a word.
I imagine that today’s divorce rates are high due to many things. We see many separated and divorced folks in the room today. It is not like it was decades ago, with women not having a say in their destinies and lives.
Women today have the ability to tell us alcoholics to “Go Fuck Ourselves…”
The other discussion that came up was about guns. In this particular story, our man is drinking with his buddy. And at some point, both are sodden drunk, and are trying to figure out a way to get back into the house and past their wives, and between them come up with a number of salacious stories about how they got so drunk.
One story goes like this … Our man, sodden with the drink, is standing on a bridge, ready to jump and holding a gun to his head, and his buddy comes upon him and saves his life, and is not delivering said man to his long suffering wife… They end up, not at home, where they planned to go, but in the hovel of a space, where the buddy lives. He has a gun, and attempts to shoot himself, but the gun is empty. Which sends our man running for the hills is fear, and he ends up home, where his wife is waiting … with the solution …
Which brings up the story about Angry Larry …
One of my stories that is in the book talks about my friend Larry. He is another AIDS survivor. Back in the day when we were all sick and dying, many of us were trying to get sober as well.
Larry used to bring a loaded gun to the meeting and he would say that he would either get sober or he was going to kill himself. That went on for a long time.
Larry eventually turned it around and became a leader of the community.
Back in the day, when we were dying of AIDS, heterosexual mortuaries, Read: Straight folks, would not touch a body with AIDS. They would not prepare the dead, nor allow anyone who worked for them to have anything to do with an infected body.
People were turned into the streets.
Larry, in his infinite sober wisdom, figured out what to do and did it gladly.
He built a mortuary. He got a license and opened his services to the community.
Larry did what the straights would not. He allowed his friends to die with dignity, gave them a place to be where family and friends could mourn them properly.
Larry broke the stigma and was celebrated as a hero amongst us.
Let no one forget what he did for the least of these.
It was a good night, everybody is well.
We’ll see you all soon.