Today I have been sober for 96 days.
The disagreement with Bob that I wrote about yesterday has escalated to the point of no return.
In essence, Bob says he is convinced that Dave will never agree to go to AA and that he will die very soon. He holds out no hope that Dave will finally hit rock bottom and seek appropriate help.
On this basis, he insists on talking to Dave, sometimes 2 – 3 times a day, his prime motive being to get the work finished on Bob’s music tapes that Dave has been working on for him for some time.
Back in the 70’s, at the height of the Vietnam war, Bob and Dave were musicians together in a band that used to tour the American air bases throughout Thailand. They also had stints in Pattaya as well as clubs in Bangkok. Even in those far off Dave was very interested in the recording side and he made many live recordings of the band on reel to reel tape recorders. Dave has already “willed” all these tapes to Bob when he dies, but has been trying to sort them out for quite a while now, which includes cataloging them and digitalizing them – transferring them in to modern digital sound format. Dave has also being doing similar work for other people, including his elderly doctor friend (now in his eighties), who used to play in a jazz band that played in the Napoleon Bar in Patpong many years back. The doctor also has countless reel to reel tapes, as well as a huge library of rare vinyl records, which he is getting Dave to transfer into digital format.
All this “studio Work” has been keeping Dave busy for quite a while now, and has been therapeutic in terms of keeping him occupied and giving him a purpose in life, plus of course a little cash for the work done. It has been obvious that for a long time the Doctor has just been getting Dave to do this work in order to give him a small income and keep him occupied, as it is unlikely that any use will ever be made of the finished product.
In my humble opinion, the same could be said for the work he is doing on his and Bob’s tapes. Of course, both being musicians, they are in raptures about all this old music, some of it original, but frankly, it just sounds like a load of dated rubbish to me (and I do know a bit about music). There can be no possible use for this music, once the digitalising job comes to an end, other than for Bob and Dave to play it to themselves and reminisce about the time when they were long haired, handsome youths, who drank and smoked pot like there was no tomorrow, and could pull any girl they wanted. The world is full of retired, unknown musicians who never quite made the ‘big time’ and more than ever these days, the world is also full of singer-song writers who have written and recorded their own music in home recording studios.
Bob is trying to justify his stance with Dave by saying that he is going to die anyway, so he might as well get him to finish his tapes before he pegs out.
I found his position extremely disturbing on several counts. Firstly we can never know for sure that Dave will die soon – God knows he has survived enough crises already; we also cannot be sure that he won’t finally come to his senses and seek proper help if he is forced to reach “rock bottom”; Bob’s behaviour goes against all the combined wisdom of the elders of AA (many of whom he has met and respects), Dave’s Doctor and even his brother; and finally I believe Bob is putting his own interests in front of the well being of a life long friend. (And to start with he didn’t even try to deny this).
Later, after I tried over and over to try and make him see sense and change his mind, he started to squirm and change the rational for his behaviour, including the excuse that: “Well Dave is chatting to other friends in Bangkok every day, so I might as well chat to him as well.”
I finally realised that Bob was going to be very stubborn on this, and also realised that Bob is not the true recovering alcoholic he claimed to be. After all, he has only ever been to three meetings in Pattaya when I more or less forced him to go, he has never been to a meeting anywhere else, he has already lapsed once, (and I now believe lied to me about how big an lapse it was), and last but not least, he claims to be spiritual, but has no faith that a “Higher Power” may come along and show Dave the error of his ways and bring him back from the brink.
So today I have had my final round of conversations with Bob and told him the same as I told Dave: “Let me know when you really are ready to embrace AA. Until then I am very sorry, but I can no longer be a close friend. My sponsor advises me that I should try to stick with friends who either have never drunk, or are recovering alcoholics who attend AA meetings on a regular basis. That way I will keep my peace and serenity. Good luck and take care.”
I am now relatively free from my emotional encumbrances of the past and will make a determined effort to get my new life on course. Today I attended two AA meetings, the regular 9 a.m. meeting, and then again at the noon meeting. I felt a bit “frayed” and the second meeting helped me a lot to get my mental state in order.
Fourth step work is now high on the agenda, and I shall try to get this under way over the next few days.
Today, for only the third time since I moved into my condo, I took a long, fast walk along the beach, and the pain in my chest and arm told me that I was really in bad physical shape and that need to take urgent remedial action to rectify the situation.
My physical shortcomings take me back to the year 2000 when I took early retirement, due to bad health. At that time I was over ninety kilos, had a bloated, round face and was certainly a “walking heart attack”. I have still not reverted to that point, as I’m a much trimmer eighty four kilos, and my face is unrecognizable in appearance to the one that I sported nine years ago, but nevertheless, if I am not careful I will start to have serious problems once more.
Back then, I did manage to get fit – very fit, and got my weight down to a remarkable seventy eight kilos, bearing in mind I am just over six feet tall. How this was achieved, along with all my other adventures during the past nine years, will be recounted over the coming week, as I continue my story of “The Retirement years”.