Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Into the face of every criminal strapped firmly in a chair, we must stare, we must stare, we must stare

Last night we went to our first A.A. meeting in a few months, at one of our favorite churches in the Loop. We've been promising ourselves that we would go, especially in the last few days. A.A. meetings make us glad. Not only because we have slightly voyeuristic tendencies and periodically need our own compass to temperence straightened, but because we like to see people at their very best. We are not sober ourselves, and have not been for more than a few days in a row for several years now, but we are honored to be among them, and their example always heartens us.

The leads we love, surely. The heartbreaking fall, the wallowing in pity, the humor of the recovered looking back on the shambled past, the great rising up from shame and addiction and certain death, the misty eyes around the room. But more than that, we love the people getting their tokens and clapping for others and themselves and especially the smoke breaks, when people who have been ordered by their support groups or sponsors to make introductions and mingle with everyone shuffle up to you, hesitatingly making eye contact, ask your name, shake your hand, talk about how the cookies and coffee are, your own sobreity, about how exciting the World Series was, and go to the next person. These are the beautiful moments. Here you have people as fresh as a flower in spring, bright, quivering and so sweetly full with their new hopefulness. As almost never happens in other areas of our lives, the cup of our heart overflows to see them.

We know that in our deepest times of need, when we have been at our worst and harmed or done harm the deepest, even then, that a feast of friends has been there to receieve us, and for this we are grateful, though we rarely express it. It shames us that we are afraid to care for others because of debts of the heart we fear to owe, and sometimes hate ourselves more than we would care to admit. Sometimes, when the love in our hearts turns to poison, we are at a loss as to why they should care at all. There is nothing in our hearts but love for you right now, friends. Though there is no God or even higher power in our lives, we are blessed. Finally, we love A.A. meetings for the most selfish and best reason of all: because the pleasures of bearing witness to dignity outweigh almost all others, and the honor and pride of being a witness is so near to the mercy we have longed for ourselves.

P.S. Our phone is shut off for a few days. Did we say how good we are with bills? Oh, and our computer is dead as a doornail for ever and ever. So if you need to reach us, send us an email or......carrier pigeon?

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TMI said...

The iBook is dead? I shed a single tear. My Thinkpad went out too and I burdened up my Visa card with a new Dell Turbonerd 5000. Ugh. What kind of low low interest rates can you get us?

Wolfgang Pynchon said...

Amazing! When are you going to tell yourself to fuck it all and just write? You are too brilliant to not compose a saga of Pynchonesque propoportions.

Sobriety is a strange and terrible journey that is sometimes beyond the loaded life. Indeed, I've not a drop drunk since September 2004, and the feeling's surreal to want a drink when I've chosen not to. I've gone it alone so far, though if/when I fail I will take the journey to AA.

And by all means, leave the corporate life NOW! I went from the tool of corporate America to happiness in roughly six months. From six figures to delivering Chinese food and studying history. It was one of the most brilliant decisions of my life. Happiness is warm . . . you fill in the noun, but it's certainly not corporate America.

'Til next time,


claire said...

wow. truly some wisdom and beauty right there. thanks for giving (eloquent) voice to sentiments that i know this reader, and probably many others, have shared.

btw--not the korean, sorry. just one of the randoms led here by j. hopper's rallying cries.