~as you trudge the road of happy destiny ~may God bless you and keep you -- until then
It wasn’t my first time stepping down from the podium feeling a lot humbled by sharing about wreckage from my past, the tools used to clean it up, and life in the here and now. There I stood in my nice dress and high heels, surrounded by the comforts of familiar. Taking in the smell of stale tobacco and the scented aroma of burnt coffee…I felt safe.
No longer looking like death warmed over; I felt relief and even moments that resembled peace.
I had hung around there just about every day for almost a year, looking at those walls adorned with pictures of old buildings, familiar faces and scrolls of solutions for those who seek, if walls could talk, the stories they would tell!
Chairs lined in rows, people who remained seated, others standing, circles forming and people chatting. The ones chaotically arranging around the coffee makers that produced the best worst coffee in the world, and cannot be duplicated, were the dedicated coffee drinkers. The room was alive!
As I stood there doing the deal, desperately wanting a cup of coffee and a smoke…feeling lighter, feeling better than ever before.
The last of those coming through the line saying words of encouragement and expressions of understanding that perhaps few can, up comes a woman with her cup of whatever it was, in one hand, and keys on a chain, in the other, making enough noise that it could alert the deaf of her arrival, she introduced herself.
Even-though we had never met, it was a face and body, I knew. I instantly felt gratitude that it had not happened to me…yet! The bulging belly, breaking of veins and redness in the face…serving as a reminder that if I ever pick up again, that could be me.
She had a story of drink to tell, and later I discover that it is me that she would share it with!
Her words catch my attention. “Well can we?”
Excuse me, I’m sorry, what did you say?”
“Can we talk?”
I knew instantly I liked her… Loud. Funny. Boisterous. Smoker. Dramatic. Did I mention, Funny?
Immediately she began complaining about the coffee creamer and offering me some that she had in the cup. “Do you carry creamer around with you?” I ask. “Yes, it helps the coffee taste better” she says. I laughed and tell her, “You are alright, may I have some of that creamer you keep in that cup?”
We sat, smoked and talked a while, she told me a little of her story, and I listened…a relationship formed. Although, opposites in so many ways, we shared a common bond. A bond that would evolve over the years; a trust and mutual respect that made all our differences seem so inconsequential.
I’ve since given up the smokes, but not the coffee… never the coffee. Over a million (give or take a few) cups of coffee, she shared hopes, dreams, fears and secrets with me and eventually our relationship grew in to a friendship like no other I’ve ever experienced.
Nine plus years have passed since I stood in that room, and said hello to my friend. Today, I will say goodbye. I am so terribly sad. I will miss her… she gave more to me than I could have ever given to her and we shared lots of laughter along the way. Sigh.
No matter how acquainted I am with people being “deathly” sick, when death happens, it is like a sucker punch to the gut. It hurts! My go to is to hide, but I’m not going to not today. I’m going to put into practice what I’ve learned over the last ten years and eight months of sobriety. I am going to put on a dress and go be of service to a family that will lay to rest a much-loved woman, wife, mother, friend…recovered alcoholic.
It is my hope and fervent prayer that the hand of God, Universe, Power, whatever, touch down and comfort the children affected by alcoholism for they have no voice…they have no choice!
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