At an AA meeting today. An old guy rambled on, just like he does every day. He sits close to the front so he’ll be asked to speak. I sit at the back to avoid it. But the guy next to me, after 5 minutes of complaining about being “back home” (from Mexico) says in a humph that “No-one at AA should be allowed to speak until they have at least 30 days sober. This guy has been coming here for 25 years and hasn’t gone for more than a week”.
I humph back my agreement, which is why I’m sitting way back at the Alano Club’s everyday 2PM meeting, so I won’t be seen or asked to speak. How can I? I’m going without even a day’s worth of absitence. Not yet. But I think this guy has it right. His name is Jim, a huge hand attached to an equally large body, suntanned—he shakes and say’s HELLO. After Mr. Rambler is finished rambling he gets up and say’s, “Well, this is a meeting I won’t be talking about for day’s to come!” then sticks out his hand and say’s goodbye. I join his shadow about 30 seconds later. We both leave the meeting at the half time, aka “smoke break”. Him for a smoke and easy leave of absence. Me, so that I won’t be tempted to stop off at the ol’ watering-hole for a drink before 5. Mission successful.
“Another day in paradise”, I almost said to someone later, but stopped myself, thinking, ruminating quickly; “What’s paradise for me might not be paradise for him”. Nevertheless, to me to live another day IS paradise, a gift, especially while I am still drinking. Yesterday I was screaming down the highway at ridiculous speeds (totally sober–not 5 yet!) to catch the 3:15 ferry-ride back to the mainland, back to my home and love. A stearing-wheel gripping ride back to my paradise. Indeed. Thank God, I made it, so that I can now, just as I have today, live and enjoy yet another day in it.
I swore that I would never write after drinking, but in the last few days have realized that then I might leave this paradise without being heard from again. Now, I feel that I owe it to myself and my loved ones to keep talking, regardless. At least an incenses ashes are still traces of the flame.