Jul 17, 2014
Today, I went to AA. All you need to know about this post is that the last line is all that matters to me. It is the beginning of my life. A couple of other things happened. I told Bunny I would try to go this Thurs. She said she would remind me. I decided then that I actually had to go, even though she was quite a ways away.
I had a suspicion I might get my check today in the mail. Some major things happened today.
My mother came to visit me and take me out to dinner. I left work at 5:00 and met her at China 10. This is my favorite mom/pop place in Greenville and they just built a new one by me. She tells me that my grandfather was finally happy to leave Lake Gaston and consider living in Charleston. It has been a struggle trying to convince my grandparents to do so. Most of it centers around them not liking my aunt. It was such good news, but bittersweet. I know it's best for them. My grandfather can no longer stand up on his own all the time, and has a very hard time walking anywhere- even with his walker. My grandmother, 90 years old, is trying to help lift him with her bad back. So, needless to say, it is good they are not alone. My grandfather has lost a great deal of his mental capacity. Sometimes I wonder how much he understands/hears because he is nearly deaf. Looks like a life of flying airplanes did not go easy on his eardrums. I'll miss seeing them as often as I usually do. It would have been nice to say goodbye. It could have been the last time I see my grandparents.
At dinner, my mother tells me I had given her $750 when I got a bit too much loan money earlier this year. I had completely forgot about it. This makes almost 3,000 I can already pay back. She then tells me that my late grandpa gave her money for each of us kids, and they invested it. It is worth around $6,000. I decide to keep it in investments, knowing that if I remove it and repay my loans, it may not be replaced very quickly. She said that she had sent a card with a note about it. When we arrived at my house, I check my mail and find the card and also my first paycheck from my budget job at the school. The card, which I read later, congratulated me on being strong through all the drinking at my brother's wedding; saying that she knew it must have been hard. It was in some ways, but more in feeling isolated after Bunny left, since I was kind of the only sober one there other than Brett. And she is pregnant and very social at the same time. So, not so held back.
I didn't know I'd be getting a check- I thought I had gotten my information to the payroll office in time for them to direct deposit it. But, I am glad I got one. It's nice to hold the first check of your career in your hands. I fought really hard through some pretty rough times to get here. I have a few tears in my eyes typing that.
My mother also tells me she has my diploma which was mailed to me a couple of weeks ago. I hold it gingerly and set it on the table to be looked at later.
My AA meeting- I tell Bunny after that this was the most rewarding thing I experienced today. None of this would mean anything if I wasn't sober. I would squander the money away. I might not have a degree. I might not have a job. I might be in such bad shape I'd have to spend the investments unwisely.
I met up at this church Walt, who helped me in staying sober, had told me about. I almost made one meeting here before, but couldn't due to time. Avoided it during school because of stress. I went to one AA meeting about 2 or 3 months ago. I really just know it was around my 6 month mark.
So, everyone was really nice at the meeting. It felt a little more relaxed and on my level as compared to "The Hut" meeting. People spoke of things that were beyond coincidences. Miracles. Things that do not happen. Things that convinced them to find God, really for the first time. Many described doing prayers as part of AA sponsor recommendations, and inevitably found religion after even years of doing so. It feels nice to be around people who are this thankful. One guy, an interesting speaker, spoke up about a story he had heard. It was of a farmer to had all his cattle die, then all his sheep die, and then his farm all go under. He layed down on the ground and called up to God, "Thank you". For he was not thanking for what he lost, he was thanking for all that he had been given.
W, who I had heard started a group at my college rec center recently, ended the meeting with a surprise. He said, "I know I had told a lot of you that I was leaving in December to move to Raleigh"- my heart sank- "but I am actually leaving tomorrow. We need to elect a new RR, so anyone who is interested." Moments before, they had announced he would give out chips tonight. I was the only one who got one, at 9 months. I felt so happy it was him who gave it to me. He has given me so much more for giving me a chance to join this program. To give me the one-on-one that may keep me sober for the rest of my life. I hope it will. I told him thanks, AA or not, and that it had saved me. He said, "That's great to hear, now I feel like maybe I made a difference- even if in just one person's life". How ironic it is that the second time I see him is the last (hopefully not) in AA. He told me I should attend the campus meeting on Saturday.
Moments before this, the man who told the story about being thankful for all that he had lost had approached me talking to some other guys. He is very alpha-seeming. Strong deep voice, a stare that makes you stare back. It's like he never blinks. It is easy to get into deep conversation with him. He tells me that helps people out,; that he is 7 years sober. He had described a story earlier about letting a "retard" guy sleep in his place, though he really didn't want him to. He saw this homeless guy doing the morning AA prayer and realized that he himself was only telling his sponsor he was doing this. Humility struck him; he began doing it; he became great friends with this guy who he eventually prepared a great care package for (when he left).
He tells me that this would be a good place for me. He tells me he can be my sponsor. He says, "I go around to other towns' meetings with people sometimes. It lets me see a different group- to hear a different story." He asks if I can go tomorrow, that he will pick me up. Normally, I don't jump into social things so fast, but I said I would like to go. We walk outside after I say goodbye to Walt. We stop talking after a few minutes and begin heading up the ramp towards my car. He says, "Do you have a big book?" I said "No". He says, "I'm going to get you one, hold on" Then he rushes inside and just as I enter the church basement after him, he is returning and says to the other people leading tonight's meeting, "I'll pay for this, I'm getting him a Big Book." We stand outside and he tells me about the beginning of the book. Tells me to read everything up until the first chapter, then to stop. He emphasizes the two parts of alcoholism are the obsession and compulsion. He says, "After the first 72 hours of stopping alcohol, it's out. The physical addiction is gone. Then it is your mind, the obsession, that you have to fight. You have to become nothing, see what this is over here, and slowly make your way to over here." as he motions with his hands. We climb up the ramp some more and he talks about how I have to fill the void, how I have to do something to keep myself off alcohol. How it will present itself to me, the temptation to drink. We conclude, having already given him my address and number to be contacted at 5 P.M tomorrow, Friday, in order to take our trip. He goes inside as I walk into the parking lot. When I near my car, I see him hustling up towards me. He gets closer and I see his car key in his hand. "In a hurry to get somewhere, huh?" I say. He says, "No, I have to hurry up and pay for this book," A great gift has been given to me, not just a book, and I hope I never forsake it.