Today I have been sober for 123 days.
I am sure I will receive a lot of flak for this, especially from those who are already convinced I treat all my women appallingly, but I have to report that yesterday morning, I “blew my new lady out’, and at this very moment, I am at home in Pattaya, having failed to take her home for new year with her family.
I am not proud of this, and in many ways I feel very badly about breaking my word yet again and letting someone down, but I believe that I made the correct decision.
So what happened?
Yesterday morning I failed again to make the morning AA meeting as I just felt too sleepy and lazy. Apart from a supreme effort on Christmas Day, I haven’t been attending regular meetings for well over a week, and although I had been to the odd meeting in Jomtien, it was looking as though I was slipping into bad, lazy habits.
But yesterday I did manage to make the “meeting after the meeting” at Starbucks, where a few of the regulars go for a chat and a coffee.
One of my good and wise friends from that group took me aside and told me something that deep down, I already knew – that the longer I stayed away, the more difficult it would be to go back again, and that I would then start to convince myself that I didn’t need to go at all, as I was now ‘cured’. He couldn’t have put his finger on the nail more accurately if he tried. I had indeed been wondering whether I needed to keep attending daily meetings.
But the next thing he told me was a bit of a jolt to my system. He said that many alcoholics with four to six months sobriety under their belt often did as I was doing, and that the inevitable next step would be to convince myself that I wasn’t an alcoholic after all and that it would be OK to have a few drinks. And we all know where that would lead.
I agreed that he was probably quite right on all counts and told him that I would be back on a regular schedule in the New Year, but for the next few days I would not be attending meetings as I was going away. He asked me for details, and he didn’t look too impressed when I told him about my new lady and my plans for the New Year.
“You think I shouldn’t go then?” I asked him.
“Too Goddamn right you shouldn’t go” he replied, with surprising intensity for a mild mannered, quiet person.
“You’ve only got four months sobriety, you’ve almost quit going to meetings, you’ve had suicidal depression, and now you want to get involved with a new lady and become immersed with her family and their problems, rather than sort out your own.”
“Yes… well… I see what you mean. I didn’t really think about it in that way.”
“Of course you didn’t. You are a newly recovering alcoholic; you won’t be able to think clearly about things until at least a year has gone by.”
“So you think I should cancel her out?”
“I think that concentrating on your continued sobriety is much more important than going up country with this lady.”
It was as though there was a flash of light and I suddenly realised that he was making complete sense. What indeed was I doing? I was planning a New Year’s trip with a lady who, although I had known for quite a while, I certainly did not know at any intimate level, and more importantly, I had to admit that I had little or no feelings for. WTF was I doing? Trying to massage my ego? Trying to forget all my problems? Trying to get into her knickers? All of the forgoing, and some other ignoble reasons that haven’t so far occurred to me.
As I started to contemplate the real possibility that I was going to ‘blow this lady out’, an uncanny sense of relief and calm came over me. I realised that I really didn’t want to go at all, but had just been led into it in my usual blind, illogical and herd like instinct, and the very idea that I didn’t have to go through with it was enough to give my depression a lift.
We talked some more about the pros and cons of going versus not going, but I knew that my mind was made up. I would stay in Pattaya and spend New Year here, probably alone.
So on my way to the twelve noon Jomtien meeting, I made a very painful call, telling her that I was a mean selfish lying bastard, but that unfortunately I wouldn’t be taking her to her home. I told her that I really didn’t want to go, and there were also health considerations to consider if I went up country at this time, and that I wasn’t prepared to compromise my own well being. She said nothing and I hung up.
The deed was done and I am sure I will never see her again. She doesn’t know where I live, and I have no intention of making further contact. This is the best thing I can do for her well being, although she may not realise it at the moment. She is well rid of me.
At the noon meeting I had a long share and disclosed a lot of my current problems and events that I had been struggling with. I felt much better after that, and a few even came over to thank me for being so honest in my sharing.
Feeling better, I went to Central Department Store, treated myself to a Japanese lunch, (which I love), and then went on a spending spree and bought myself some clothes – the first time I have done this in a very long time. I came home and tried to have an early night, to be sure that I woke up in time for my morning meeting, but even with a sleeping pill, I still didn’t drop off until around 1.30 a.m. and struggled mightily to wake up and make the meeting, which thankfully I achieved.
I was welcomed back like a long lost friend. I didn’t think that anyone would be so concerned about me after a comparatively short absence, but they clearly were and I was deeply touched. I will do my best not to disappoint them, or myself again.
MOBI’S STORY – (PART 28)
THE RETIREMENT YEARS (CONTINUED)
So what had been going on in Bangkok during the period that I was planning to leave my wife, and the period immediately after I left her?
It wouldn’t take a genius to figure it out. I was getting involved with yet another lady.
I have previously related how I came to Thailand a couple weeks ahead of my wife, ostensibly for our summer holidays, and by the time she arrived in Bangkok, I was back in the UK moving out of the marital home. During my brief period in Bangkok, I fell into the habit of getting drunk every night in bars on Soi 33 off Sukhumvit Road, and in particular there was one bar where my bottle of Black Label was sitting behind the counter, awaiting my nightly arrival.
Along with the ever patient bottle, there was Mei, an incredibly cute and sexy young thing, who didn’t speak a word of English. The bar I frequented was unusual, inasmuch as nearly all the customers were not farangs, but wealthy, middle class Thais who wanted to indulge a bit of ‘slap and tickle’ before heading off to their respectable wives and kids in the family home.
My Thai, which I hadn’t used in any serious way for years, as my wife spoke excellent English, was suddenly put to over extended use in conversing with the new lady in my life. When I had lived in Thailand in the 70’s and 80’s I had been exposed to a huge level of Thai as all my jobs were with Thai companies, but as most of the senior management in these companies spoke reasonable English, my spoken Thai remained extremely basic. So I cannot really account for the fact that when I met this non-English speaking lady, within a short while we were able to converse quite well, and as time went on my Thai improved in leaps and bounds.
I can only assume that my previous exposure to Thai during my eight odd years in Thailand, all those years ago, together with almost daily exposure to my wife’s Thai when she would speak to friends and relations must have been burnt onto my brain’s subconscious ‘hard disk’, and was just awaiting the opportunity to be copied and pasted into my conscious memory when I returned to Thailand and met people who could not speak English.
When I returned to the UK to move out, my relationship with Mei was still in its infancy. For sure I had bought her many drinks, and we had spent many hours canoodling in her bar, but I had not yet bedded her.
However, when I returned to Thailand to start my new life, the relationship took off like a rocket and within a short while Mei had moved in with me in an apartment I was renting on Soi 15, although she still maintained her own room in Bang Na. This fact should have raised some alarm bells, but I was too busy drinking and drowning my sorrows at my failed marriage to think about such things, and typically for me, it wasn’t long before I was absolutely besotted with the new woman in my life and she could do no wrong.
At first, things were just wonderful. We both enjoyed drinking and going out and enjoying ourselves, and we spent many a happy night getting drunk in various night joints across Bangkok. I had bought a second hand jeep and we made trips to places like Pattaya and Cha Am where we also lived it up.
But the idyllic existence didn’t last, and it wasn’t long before conflicts began to surface. Most of the problems revolved around her propensity for disappearing and sometimes staying in her own place, rather than with me. On many days she would leave in the morning and not return until evening or sometimes not at all. These instances caused fights, and as she was an extremely feisty young lady, when I was upset about something, she would give as good as she got.
Then, out of the blue she suddenly turned up one day with a tiny puppy dog. She informed me that now she had a puppy, she would have to stay home in her room every night with it, and just visit me in the day time. I objected to this plan so vehemently, that she gave up the idea, but as a counter move decided to move the puppy in with me.
Her previous habits, of disappearing all day, still continued, and now I was left with the dog to take care of. Not a happy situation.
Life did eventually start to get better one day when I agreed to drive her to her family home up in Loei, and stay the night there with her. Upon our return to Bangkok, I agreed that I would spend some money to fix up her mother’s house, which was in a terribly dilapidated condition and then we made the significant decision that we would buy a house in Bangkok and live there together as husband and wife.
After this, she seemed to have a much better attitude towards me, there was less sneaking of to her own apartment and I felt happier about my new relationship.
I may have been stupid, but not that stupid, and resolved to buy the house in my name so one of my friends recommended a lawyer who would help me set up the necessary Thai company to achieve this.
In the meantime, Mei introduced me to some friends who lived off the Bang Na highway, around twenty kilometres south of Bangkok and not too far from a large, upmarket housing development called Thana City. Thana City was huge, and had its own golf course, as well as an Olympic sized pool within its grounds. Mei’s friends, (the husband was a cop), had some contacts there and to cut a long story short we eventually located a nice little three bedroom house that we agreed to buy. I duly met with the owner and put a cash deposit down to secure the purchase, and the documents signed at that time indicated that the house would be purchased through my Thai company which was in the process of being set up.
At about this time I had to return to England to settle various affairs which included getting my daughter moved into the house I was buying there. So I met with my Thai Lawyer, who was still in the process of setting up my company and agreed with her that as soon as everything was completed, she would inform me by email and I would remit the money to her in order to complete the purchase of the property through my company.
Then I made a huge mistake. Mei became extremely upset when she learned that I was planning to remit funds to the lawyer, and told me that I shouldn’t trust any lawyers in Thailand. She suggested that instead of trusting the lawyer. I should send the money to her, and that she would arrange with the lawyer to have my money paid over to complete the house purchase in the name of my company. This all made perfect sense, and I took down her account details before travelling back to England.
While I was England, and particularly when I was in hospital for my operation, I called Mei constantly and followed the progress of both her mother’s house repairs, as well as the purchase of our new home in Thana City, along with the furnishing and fit out. Before leaving Thailand, we had obtained some quotes for furniture, landscaping, air conditioning and so on, and all the funds required for these expenses were remitted to Mei so that she could arrange to get everything done and dusted by the time I returned to Thailand.
So as recounted in an earlier episode, I finally arrived back in Thailand, very tired and quite ill but in a state of high expectation that my ‘darling’ would be there to greet me and whisk me off to my new home, where I would receive nothing but adoration and tender loving care.
I walked slowly into the public area of the arrival lounge, my trolley packed to the gunnels with personal effects, stuff for the new home and presents for my beloved.
I looked around – no sign of Mei. I looked again and again, and couldn’t see her anywhere. I eventually made my way to a seat and waited for a while, assuming she had been delayed in traffic. I felt a bit of a letdown after my high expectations, but it wasn’t the end of the end of the world. She would surely turn up soon.
But she didn’t, so I called her number. There was no signal – she had turned her phone off.
I started to think the unthinkable and felt the sweat of panic and despair starting to trickle down my face and back.