I want to dedicate this blog post to some very special people in my life that were there for me in the very beginning of my recovery. They were there to reassure me that this was the right path for me and to show me that there are really amazing people in recovery. They showed me that there was an amazing alternative to the desperation that I was living in.
This one is for Gail and Curtis. You guys are awesome. Congrats on 11 years Gail!
I was sitting on the stoop of the bar that I worked at and I had a Miller High Life in my hand. The sun was out and it was making my beer warm. The sun light streaked into my eyes and matched the color of the beer that was settling at the bottom of the bottle that I loved so much. I had just finished a shot of Fernet and all that I could think about was having another one as soon as I got back into the bar. It was about 11:30 AM and I was a big fan of day drinking. I was a fan of any kind of drinking…. day, night, weekend, alone, with people, Tuesday, sunny, foggy… I was all about equal opportunity.
A friend of mine that worked at the book store that was right next to my bar had some family in town. They were visiting my friend so he introduced them to me. They were cool, I remember thinking, but not as cool as me. No one was a cool as me. I was wearing a wifebeater tank top and was drinking during the day on my day off. I was cool.
I don’t remember that much more about the encounter with these people but I would be reminded of this encounter a couple of years later.
These people who I had been introduced to were in recovery. They saw me that day and saw themselves years before. Right at the end of their drinking. They knew exactly what was going on with me even if I had no idea what was going on with myself. They were saving me a seat in AA. They knew that I would be in the club soon enough. They just hoped that I didn’t die first.
I almost did. Twice.
Fast forward to early 2008…. I was just fresh into recovery. I had made it to the party and I was about 2 months sober at the time. I was invited to go to a young peoples AA conference in Sacramento. I was pretty scared and apprehensive about going because I was new to this whole thing. I did not really know how I would be around a big group of people but I knew that this was something that was suggested that I do. I was at the point where I was not in the business of questioning suggestions from those who had been around longer then I had.
I walked into this hotel in Sacramento and the first thing that I noticed was all of the hot girls. This was a pretty big eye-opener to me because I really didn’t know what to expect when it came to young people in recovery. My image of being the coolest person in the world had been shattered pretty throughly when I was hospitalized for 8 days and was on deaths door. I remember thinking…. “damn, these people look really cool. I think that I belong here”
Everyone was hot.. and had tattoos. I could dig it.
At the registration table someone came up to me and tapped me on the shoulder… he was pretty familiar and had a head set on which I though was kind of funny. He was wearing a name tag that was attached to a lanyard thing around his neck. It said that his name was Curtis and that he was a “Host”… whatever that meant. He looked pretty official and I had no idea what he wanted with me. I didn’t think that I was in trouble yet.
It was my friend’s brother… who had visited that day at the bar. I didn’t recognize him because I was petty drunk that day and didn’t really remember anything between 2006 and 2007.
He was so happy to see me. He hugged me and kept saying….. “YOU MADE IT! YOU MADE IT!”
I had no idea what was happening at that moment… but later on in my recovery I would knew exactly how he felt as I would do the same thing to others that started the journey. Pure relief and utter joy is the only way to describe it.
He got on his fancy headset and yelled into it…. “GAIL TO THE REGISTRATION TABLE! HE MADE IT!”
The other person that I met that day at the bar came running around a corner and gave me a huge hug. We talked about all of the things that had happened to me over the past couple of years. They nodded their heads in agreement. They knew what was up.
The rest of the conference was a life changing experience for me. It showed me that there were amazing people who were just like me. I was just like them. We had so much in common. These were the cool people that partied their asses off and then one day they just surrendered to the fact that they were either going to die… or they were going to try something different. They didn’t want to die, they wanted to live. This was our ticket to freedom.
I was cooler then ever before.
It’s amazing how this whole thing works… and at the same time its not. These are the things that I expect now. Things that seem like a funny coincidence but I know that somehow they were meant to happen. They were put before me for a reason. I don’t know how or why.. and I don’t even question it anymore. It just makes me smile and remember how grateful I am to have this thing and these people.