Today I am 100 days sober.
As I said to the meeting this morning, at one hundred days, I am now breaking new ground in terms of my sobriety.
The previous time around, I made it to just over ninety days and then lapsed, but this time I have to say I feel a lot more confident and feel sure I have taken my last drink.
In recent times I seem to have spent a lot of time falling out with friends, making up again, and then falling out with others. One of the friends I did fall out with some ninety odd days ago was a good friend in Chiang Mai who chaired the AA meeting I attended when I blew up and stormed out and started drinking. I behaved like an arsehole, and who could blame him for “keeping his distance”.
Anyway I am delighted to report that within the last couple of weeks we have started corresponding again, and today, on my 100 day ‘celebration’, we “text chatted” for a while on Skype. I can’t tell you how pleased I was that we seem to have finally put all that bad stuff behind us, and it made me feel really good, as I do value him so much as a friend. Furthermore we’re both ‘newcomers’ in AA terms – less than 1 year’s sobriety – and I think we can support each other in our strivings to remain sober for the long haul.
So my Chiang Mai friend is back in the “Mobi fold”, but I am now grieving the loss of Dave and Bob, two of my very oldest friends, and of course, I am having guilt trips over whether or not I have done the right thing.
Dave didn’t help yesterday, when he sent me the following email:
“Such a time ago.
Such unlikely a meeting.
Such unlikely occurrence: Unlike minds, yet we remain together even though I at least have probably never been (and you’ve certainly never asked me to be) anything like you might’ve wanted me to be.But times change and you ask me to join you in an exercise which is too far from me. An exercise that (please allow me to express it this way) is so far from me it would, in my mind, require becoming what nature dictated we aren’t – like minds.
Such a time ago . . .
Miniscule street bar with seats for three customers. Or a hotel room. Or a bar at the end of some narrow Sukhumvit access gap. Mobile ringing. Mine. Wee hours. Abed. Asleep. A voice. A need. Has he been abandoned? Or has he walked out? Doesn’t matter.
“Dave, you doing anything?”
“I’ll be right there.”
I’ve always been there, mobi.
I always will.”
My main reaction to this email was one of hurt. Dave is effectively telling me that he was there for me, so I should be there for him.
I have to stretch my memory to recall the occasions when he was there for me – a few months ago when I was in relapse and he came by my hotel in Bangkok and gave me some pills that made me so woozy and I felt so divorced from reality that I stopped taking them after 1 day, and the only other occasion was around 8 years ago when I was ripped of by one of the many ladies in my life, and he kindly arranged for his assistant to help me, who in turn proceeded to also rip me off. Thank you Dave. If that’s what “being there for you” is all about, I’d rather you stayed away.
On the other hand, I cannot recall a time when I haven’t devoted a great deal of time, and often money to help Dave through his countless medical crises, and also in various attempts through the years to get him back on his feet and into a situation where he could earn a living. From the days long ago when tried to help him run his recording studio, through to the eighties and early nineties when I spent a great deal of time, and not little expense in preparing and sending off excerpts of his dairy to agents, publishers, (in the forlorn hope that someone may agree to public and provide Dave with an income), to the setting up of a Limited partnership and other work I did to enable Dave to run an export business, (which failed due to his lethargy, drinking and for some strange reason, his expectation that I would do all the work for him), to all the times I have rushed to his help when he has had yet another drinking/medical crisis. I have recounted in detail my recent efforts, but the reality is that the help and support I have given him this year is just the tip of the iceberg.
This is the first time I have really thought about what I have done for Dave over the past thirty years in these terms. I did it because he was my friend, and I wanted to help him. I never sought or expected anything in return, and frankly, never received anything.
But now he seems to be suggesting that I have deserted him.
Well I suppose I have, and probably should have done a long time ago. But he is “putting it on me” I guess that’s pretty much par for the course for a chronic alcoholic.
Alcoholics are dominated by their egos, and everything in their lives is all about them. So I suppose the couple of times that he thinks he has helped me are far more dominant in his mind that anything I have done for him. OK that’s fine, I understand that.
But his ego must be close to bursting when he tries to tell me that the “exercise” (going to AA) is too far from him… that his mind is “too far removed from such things”. To me this is so egotistical, (And Bob is very similar – must be a trait amongst musicians),
He (Dave) is the special one. All this AA common to garden stuff is not for him. He would never demean himself by being among such ordinary mortals.
Yet I have told him over and over, (and it just shows how much he listens to what I say), that the folk I have met in AA are amongst the brightest, most erudite and deepest thinkers that I have met anywhere. They are from all walks of life, some highly educated and some had very successful careers until the booze got the better of them. Although many, it has to be admitted ended up in the gutter, and some ended up in jail, (including me!). But even those at the bottom of the pile have somehow pulled themselves out of that gutter and have succeeded in their sobriety to lead useful, happy lives, some with very successful jobs and businesses.
And they are all characters – funny, interesting, tragic, crazy, lovely, generous and kind characters. Every single one of them will try to help you, if you let them. Dave and Bob don’t know what they are missing.
What reasonable person, who by his own admittance at the point of death, wouldn’t at least give AA a go? Or just go to a couple of meetings to humour one of his lifelong friends? All he has to do is sit in a room , with a cup of coffee, for one hour and listen. He doesn’t have to say a single word, either in the meeting, or before or after it. Not that hard is it?
Or is it all about his reluctance to look at his spiritual side? Probably – but again, to me, there is so much arrogance in his refusal to even consider that there may be ‘another way’.
Well that’s got that off my chest.