The weather is holding. A bit chilly, temps went into single digits last night.
For the last few days, I have been in consultation with people I know and trust. Sobriety is good for many things, having long sober people to talk to is a good thing.
Tonight we were treated to a sober woman, who in June, will reach 42 years sober.
She got sober, when I was just a boy. Almost as long as I’ve been alive.
Her’s was a unique story, players wise. What astounded me was that at age 13, after the family unit failed her disastrously, she struck out on her own. Moving to an apartment not very far from where I live today. At age 13 …
Not being a drinker, YET, served her well. She was employed in a successful career by age 17, and life was colorful, yet sad, and at the right moments, we all laughed, but that did not take away the fact that drinking is a subtle foe.
As alcoholics, we usually don’t survive the YET’S …
Alcohol, as stated by our thanker, is an equal opportunity foe. Alcohol can take down even the strongest people, at the most inopportune times.
Strong women are fixtures in our community. Some war stories are more tragic than others, and hearing the tales told, I ask the question … “how did they get here and survive?”
I know a little about long term survival.
Life takes its course, and our woman walked her walk, she had a child, on the journey, then because of family issues, could not baptise her daughter, so she married someone she later fell in love with, for a name, so that her child could have her name, (read:In the Church).
A while later, she wanted to have her husbands child. After four miscarriages, heartache and loss, she got pregnant again, and carried full term and gave birth. Only to have her child die a crib death, 40 days into her infant life.
In her words … “it seemed a really good time to have a drink.”
One bottle of wine, and she went from zero to hero in very little time.
Life was hard in the fifties and sixties. Women were supposed to play certain social roles, and do social things and be good housewives, living in suburbia.
The war story continues.
One day, she was at work, and a guy walked into her office and said to her, “hi, My name is John (read:not his real name), and I am an alcoholic and got sober in A.A….
Ok, thank you for sharing, good for you.
Here is where I share part of her story. For some of us, the right human being appears in our life, right when we need them, but we may not be ready for the message, right then and there.
That man was a constant in her life for months. He’d call her weekly to check on her, and her response was always the same.
Hello … hello
How are you doing?
Everything is fine.
Good I’ll call you next week.
That went on for months, as our woman wound her way into the pit of hell, ever so slowly.
One night John calls and says, “I’ve got a problem, I have to speak at a meeting, and I need you to come with me for moral support. (momentary vacillation) but she agreed to go.
The meeting they hit that night, is right up the street from home, where I used to go when I first got sober. He took her to dinner and they made a meeting. Upon arriving, she made sure to tell everyone there that she was not an alcoholic and that she was just “here for a friend.”
The literature guy introduced himself to her and offered her some literature. Our woman said that she would find it useful for “some of her friends, but not for her.” (read: at that time).
She went away from that meeting, unmoved.
But we all know that alcoholism is cunning and patient. It took her slowly.
She became a suburbia wife, moving from the city to the West Island.
Working in a high stress career, she drank her way through. John, her alcoholic friend, was still speaking to her, and at one point, she offered that she was in difficulty. he knew she was drinking, and she was over her head in work. And she admitted to having a problem and his response was:
“Well, why don’t you quit?”
So she quit her job.
She then became a suburban wife, and in time, she had all the other wives in the neighborhood drinking just as much as she was, in very little time.
Husbands would be coming home from work, having to pick up their sodden wives to come home and cook dinner, albeit, a little late.
Not soon after her husband informed her that he was leaving her, and he did just that.
At this point, our woman was well south of happy.
She came home one night to a sick child, being taken care of by her babysitter.
That night she said “that prayer.”
“God, if you are up there, please do something !”
Falling asleep on her daughters bed, she woke up there the next morning.
The next day, her daughter was alive and kicking. She took up the phone and called John, and he asked her one question …
“Do you have a problem?”
After listening to John, tell her repeatedly that he was in recovery, getting phone calls every week for months, and attending a meeting once, she had reached the bottom. Denying or not really (read: admitting) that she had a drinking problem.
He took her back to the meeting they attended together months ago.
That man who had given her literature, remembered her by name and said …
By the grace of God, she has not had a drink in more than 40 years.
In memory of her father, instead of cake on her anniversary, our woman takes a pizza.
It is ODD or is it GOD?
Some of us are damned lucky, for the right human being, to walk into our lives at the right time, even if we aren’t ready to hear the message, as happened to me this time around.
Whatever you call it, “something Greater than Ourselves seems to step in, right when we need it, even if we don’t think we need it at the time.
Oprah says that “When God speaks to us, it is in a whisper, and if we don’t pick it up the first time, He whispers again, if we don’t pick it up the second time, He hits us in the back of the head with a two by four, if we ignore that hit, then He drops a Brick Wall on us.
Obviously, in the end, the brick wall had to fall on our woman.
As it usually has to happen to an alcoholic, because we are thick headed…
The Brick Wall falls …
A good night was had by all.
More to come, stay tuned …