Today I have been sober for 29 Days.
Well, I am delighted to report that Bob and I had a good time in Phnom Penh.
We arrived early afternoon, on time, on a comfortable flight on the excellent Air Asia. If you book up at least 3 days in advance you get a good price reduction, and if you book as much as a month ahead, the tickets barely cost 2,000 Baht round trip. We paid just over 5,000 Baht each for our round-trip tickets, and that included an extra charge to get our comfortable front seats, and be the first off the plane and through immigration.
As mentioned yesterday, my Cambodian based cobber mate, Steve, met us at the airport and dropped us off down-town at our guest house, the ‘Velkommen Inn’, on 104 Street.
The female staff at the Guest House gave me an overwhelming welcome; screaming, hugging and kissing me and looking genuinely happy to see me again. (I had stayed there for several weeks earlier in the year during my last abortive attempt to leave my wife). Bob was suitably impressed and not a little jealous of my ‘over the top’ welcome, but he soon made friends with the young ladies, and before our trip was over he was speaking Aussie /Cambodian to them. As you may have guessed, I like to stay at the Velkommen Inn as I feel so welcome there!!
After a hasty shower , we worked our way down the bars of 104, thence to ‘Sharkeys’, a large pub/bar on Street 130, and finally to the Black Cat on 178 Street, which is just down the road from the Heart of Darkness, one of Phnom Penh few discos. Bob fell in love with a beautiful girl in the Black Cat who spoke impeccable English and was working her way through college. I met up with an old flame.
It must have been past 3.a.m when arrived back at Velkommen Inn where we had to wake up the security guard to open the door before clambering over some motor cycles which had been parked inside the bar area for safety, and at long last crawl thankfully into our beds, alone.
Saturday saw Bob have lunch with his lawyer friend by himself. I wasn’t used to such late nights and I slept through it. Late afternoon found the two of us back in the bars for another long reconnoiter, which again finished in the small hours.
This was Bob’s first bar crawl for over 7 years, as he is just extricating himself from his own unhappy marriage to a Thai Lady, and being the decent, honorable man that he is, he had not strayed during the entire 7 years of his marriage, even though his wife had become notable for her lies and infidelities. (Does this sound familiar?)
(I went to visit Bob in 2006 with my wife, and the four of us spent a week together at his home in Noosa, on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. Towards the end of that trip, the two girls insisted on having a “ladies night out” at the local Disco, and Bob, being the decent, honest, but highly suspicious man that he is, turned up at the disco at around 2 a.m., just in time to see our wives get into the back of a car with two handsome Aussie lads.
Of course denials were the rule of the day, and my wife insisted that she was just “going along for the ride” ( I wonder what kind of ride??) and it was Bob’s wife that was the instigator. Bob’s wife had told Bob the exact opposite story.
For both of us, this incident was just one of a long line of incidents of a similar nature. Recently, Bob has succeeded in legally extricating himself from his wife who has now moved to Sydney. Hopefully, I am not too far behind him in this regard.
Sunday was a lazy morning before we met up with Steve again for the drive back to the airport in the late afternoon. I had left my car at the short stay car park at Suvarnabhumi and we were soon heading off to Bangkok to pay a quick visit with our sick friend.
Dave was looking at lot better and was managing to get around a bit in the house. We had a long ‘heart to heart’ with him about the future and his need to stop drinking. We impressed upon him the unpleasant truth that if he ever picked up another drink he would be surely dead within months. He gave us an honest undertaking that he would do his very best in this regard.
One of the things that we related to Dave was that although it is not a practice to be recommended, particularly in the early days of sobriety, we had navigated our way around dozens of bars for two nights and not once did either of us feel tempted to pick up a drink. I think we both derived support and benefit from each other, for there is nothing worse than a sober alcoholic bar hopping with a drunk, or indeed doing it alone, as I have found to my cost.
Finally, a nightmarish late night drive back to Pattaya in torrential thunderstorms, which only came to a halt after we arrived home. There I found my wife had finally returned from her week (plus) of drunken sojourns and was playing cards with friends. She barely acknowledged our arrival before returning her game. (She hadn’t seen me in over a week, and hadn’t seen Bob since 2006, yet the way she behaved you would think we had just popped out for a few minutes.)
I crashed before midnight, but couldn’t sleep well, and the wife finally came to bed at 4 a.m.
I am no longer emotionally traumatized by her “un-wifey’ behaviour, which in the past, would have led me to pick up a drink; but it does set off a kind of “deep resentment” within me that someone, who I had given so much to, could treat me in such an unfeeling and uncaring manner. These days, it doesn’t lead me to drinking; just rather sleepless nights, which on this occasion caused me to miss my morning AA meeting today.
I haven’t been to a meeting since last Thursday and as a result, I have been feeling very fragile, particularly as I missed the morning meeting due to the ‘wifey induced insomnia’, so this evening I made absolutely sure I attended the 5 p.m. session, and as ever it was a good meeting. The main speaker in particular recounted some fascinating personal experiences and some interesting insights on how he came to the path of sobriety and spirituality, which for many years now has given him so much happiness.
I must apologize for not yet getting back to Mobi’s story. Tomorrow I am off back to Bangkok with Bob for a couple of nights, and whilst I am there I will do my best to find time to continue my blog.
I will return on Thursday, and after that I should settle back into my Pattaya routine, and be able to devote more time to the blog.