Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Lost Weekend

I have been reading some AA blogs, after a near slip late last month, and attending meetings. I've had near slips before but this one rocked me to the core, I was so close, I could taste it. I started having drinking dreams, I knew it was time to do something. So I am grateful for two blogs I have discovered, Syd's and Steve's, as well as Mary's wonderful blog, which helped me get through this latest patch.

I left a comment on Steve's blog about one of my first sponsors, and have been thinking about him a lot the past few days. He's long gone, he was in his late 70's when he was my sponsor, but to me he was not only a sponsor, but like a grandfather as well.

I was sitting in the 24 hour club on a Saturday night, trying to get sober. It was during an open meeting, but it might have been a men's only meeting. I don't know, I was the only female there, but they didn't tell me to leave. An elderly man was speaking, telling his story. I sat there entralled, like it was listening to Scherazade herself spin a story. It was a story of a man who got sober by the help of his first sponsor, a man most famous for a little book he once wrote about his own drinking.

His actual story has long been erased from my mind, by ECT , but what I recall of it, was my sponsor was half drunk in an AA room listening to a speaker. For some reason everything the speaker was saying touched a nerve in him, he sat there listening, and had his epiphamy, if he kept on drinking, he would loose his wife, his children, his job, and if he really hit bottom, his life. His drinking, the way he drank, his black outs, even the poison of his choice was identical to the speakers. At the end of the meeting, the speaker came up to my sponsor, then a very young man in his 30's and talked to him a bit more and at the end of the night, my sponsor walked out of the meeting with the speaker, who became his first sponsor, and a phone number. He never touched a drink again, so motivated he was by the speaker and his story.

My sponsor was a former English professor at Rutgers. He was a widower when I met him, his children were out of the state. He would go to AA meetings every other day, was a sponsor to two other men, including the one one who ran the 24 hour club, and was involved in local politics. Every Sunday he would take me to a Chinese restaurant in Trenton, introducing me to the waiters as his "adopted" granddaughter; and indeed when I was in the hospital with the DT's, he brought me Chinese take out for my first meal I could eat. After a period of time, I got a female sponsor, but I continued on with two sponsors, so fragile was my sobriety, I felt I needed two for that first year. After two years, I stayed on with the woman, and he and I stayed as friends, constantly working together in local politics for our congressman, and offering me tips and advice over weekly Chinese or Diner food every Sunday after a meeting.

The speaker that changed my sponsor's life was Charles Jackson, a name which probably doesn't mean anything anymore. But he got my first sponsor sober, he wrote one heck of a book and left a great film noir for the ages. Not to shabby for life.

Here is a clip from the great film noir, "The Lost Weekend", one of several books that Charles Jackson wrote during his lifetime. I wish they still made movies like this.


Steve E said...

Susan, God uses many Peeps to talk to us, send us blessings and help. I happen to really believe this blogging helps so many of the Peeps who may not go to many meetings for whatever reason.

Your blog is interesting, well written, and honest--what could be "more better"?

If you are living as precariously as it sounds, stay close, STAY CLOSE to you sponsor(s) and to us here on the blogs...PLEASE!

I've blogrolled you, or else I'd forget to come here when you post.

Syd is wonderful, and Mary is priceless, my opinion...


tinkerbell the bipolar faerie said...

Ughhh. Addiction is one demon I have struggled with. Sucks, doesn't it? One day at a time, I guess.

JourneyBeyondSurvival said...

What a wonderful chance to absorb wisdom. You took such great advantage of it. I loved this tribute, and your self-awareness.

Wonder Woman said...

I dont enjoy being alive. Life seems like a game that I am not good at.

I think of the author of this blog and all the posters throught out the day. I am with you in solidarity. I am grateful for the online community.

Susan, I am grateful that you are using your struggle to empower and validate other people. Without question, God is using you in powerful way.

Love to all
Wonder Woman
(I liked the Wonder Woman show when I was little. That and Charlie's Angels...they were always saving people)

Anonymous said...

Susan, you encourage people with your stories. That is wonderful.
Wonderwoman (I like the reference), there are so many games I am not good at, but I find that the more you play them, the better you get . Don't give up on the game of life, once you get good at it, it can be fun and bring you a lot of happiness, but no doubt, it's not always easy. Be strong and be well!!! You'll do awesome!!! And you'll have Susans stories and others to read for encouragement.

susan said...

@Wonderwoman, thank you. Some days I don't enjoy being alive, but I feel I owe it to my cat to stay alive or she would die without me. And I am selfish, I want to write, I want to people to read my writing, and know that I touch people like you , and in return, you touch me. And you help me stay alive. So lets stay alive for each other. And for my cat... .because she is a miracle, and so are you.

I liked Wonder Woman too when I was a kid.

@ Thank you Anon. Thank you everyone. I am blessed to have such wonderful peeps reading me.

Syd said...

Susan, it is so interesting to hear how people come together in the fellowship--coincidence is said to be God being anonymous. I like that idea. But what you write here reminds me that those kinds of God moments are ones that we can't ignore. Something changes within. And what is broken begins to be whole again. Thanks for writing this part of your story.

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