Getting clean in the summer was different than now, late fall. The warm weather, the butt can friends all getting sober. Everybody showing up early waiting for the meeting. Emotional misfits really, predators and victims alike. Six in one? Half dozen in the other as they say. None of us have any other place to be really. No other place to fit in. All of us here to quiet our racing minds for a couple of hours. All of us wanting to be liked so we can like ourselves. It's good, a good place, a safe place. I remind myself often telling myself I'm grateful to be here. I am reminded with the bumper sticker AA that goes round and round the hall. Easy Does It, Live and Let Live, One Day at a Time. And sure, but for the Grace of God go I? Whatever that means. It would be great if just putting the drink down for a few months would fix it all. All the past horror. All the shame and guilt of who they believe I was always. What they think of me. All of the jealousy, the resentment, hate, ugly faces.. Yes, all the difference between us? Nobody understands me, family..old friends. If only it would all just go away. EX'S AND WOES I'm obsessed with her, her family, and her new boyfriend having Thanksgiving with my daughter. Nothing seems to help here in my head. I'm out of control. It's cold out now. I'm cold. Is she warm enough? Who's going to make sure she's ok in the cold? I must save them. I must find out how I can save my family in the cold and coming snow. Christ! I don't even know where they are living.. THE MEETING PLACE I'm early, soon people will start to show up. For now? I stare at the ground, at the smelly butt can outside the meeting. It's smoldering as my third butt burns someone's Styrofoam cup left behind that doesn't belong. Who does that? Styrofoam cup in the butt can? I may have once or twice.. It's freezing tonight. I am alone and have nothing but sobriety. It doesn't mean much tonight, not much at all. Part of me thinks the happy AA faces will totally mess up my depression. I'm feeling sorry for myself, sorry for everybody, just plain sorry. The word self-pity seems weak. I don't want to use that word. I want to be the victim here in my head and none of this life is my fault. All I want is to see my daughter. My beautiful son. I don't know, maybe they're right. Maybe I am dangerous. A drunk, a pill addict. NO, I'm not a loser, a good for nothing. NO, I'm somebody! So ok, maybe I did almost burn the house down with a cigarette? That was then like 2 years ago. Leave the stove on? Everybody has done that sort of thing. Even my mother was guilty of leaving the iron plugged in. Yes I am guilty of leaving the baby alone while I meet the man outside. She was in the crib! Safe! It was 5 minutes and I was right outside at the street. I could hear if she started crying or there was something wrong. You said you were coming right back? I thought I had time to get high? Jesus..I'm talking to myself again out loud. I'm sober now! I go to AA like they wanted! Counseling even. Why can't I have my family back now? At least see them alone so we could talk. So I could tell her how great I'm doing in meetings and counseling. How much I love them and miss them. Convince them to take me back. Show them how I've changed.I can't understand why nobody cares about me. 2 MEETINGS A DAY TILL THANKSGIVING I'm totally lost. If I don't make it to the noon meeting I'm not sure I can make it the rest of the day. My head is so crazy. Thanksgiving is two days away. AA people are talking about how grateful they are with their families. They're not like me, they can't be can they? I can't seem to fit in even at my meetings. Oh I guess I could get a ride to my sisters where my mother and everyone are having the usual big dinner. I'm sure I could be grateful too.. They would expect me although they have no idea where I am or have been living. Maybe it's ok. I'm the son, I'm the brother! Ugh.. They're all afraid of me too. I can't go. What about a suit or tie? Decent attire for Thanksgiving? There's none of that. There's not much of anything really. Work boots? Hefty bag luggage? I made it, I'm here. I am grateful for the noon meeting. Grateful for a safe place to rest my racing mind, a safe place to hide. I'll find out what's going on this afternoon and then who's going to the night meeting. Then sleep again. I will have made it another day. ONE DAY TILL THANKSGIVING Waking up to fear again today. Is my father going to be there? Daddy dearest? He hates me and makes it a point to let me know everytime I see him. Not sure I can handle any of that right now. What about my cousin the rat. The weisel, snake in the grass.. Or my brother inlaw who always protests Thanksgiving and the whole Plymoth Rock thing. The Puritans invaded the Indigenous peoples. All that negative stuff every year. He'll be protesting the parade even yet everybody loves him. He'll be at the dinner passing anger around. Or uncle the perv that everybody believes over me. The usual sickening feeling comes over me quick. That freaken guy. Sitting there all smug with his happy family when he had me blackmailed into emptying my pockets. Screwed up in Vietnam is no excuse to sexually molest a 10 year old. Makes me wonder how he can have kids of his own? He was an offender before he went in the service and everyone knew that. They still ignored me and accepted him regardless. What if I have to pass the candied yams to him? What if I have to watch him eat, chew. Smell that smell, that patchouli oil everywhere so strong I can taste it. Great. Turkey and patchouli. My ex-wife and kids could actually be there too. What then? What about the restraining order to stay away from them? Everybody knows I went crazy or was always crazy? Would she bring her super boyfriend? Mr. everything I'm not? Do my kids call him daddy? He probably has a nice car. Job. And let's not forget and rub it in my face the time I stole money from Gramma. I was a junkie. A homeless drunk! I only saw money, money means dope. I would never want to hurt my Grandmother. I love my Grandmother. Geeze! This just won't quit. My head, my crazy head. I pray to the Higher Power to just let me fall asleep. THANKSGIVING DAY Not my regular day route but I'm at the morning meeting. Drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes. I am seeing lots of people I haven't seen in a while, at least days and weeks. Everybody is talking about the big Alca-thon Thanksgiving feast with meetings at the Church meeting hall that has a kitchen and tables. I guess there's a food committee and all but that doesn't seem to matter really. They need volunteers to set up clean up and even help cook. My friend from the butt can is making mashed potatoes and say's they need help. Weird. I didn't even give it any thought and signed up to help prep cook anything they need. Turns out I'm on corn detail. Not sure what that means but I'm excited really. Like I have purpose. Like I'm a part of this Thanksgiving dinner with my people. Kind of funny really. Sober and Clean? Alcoholics and Junkies. These are my people now. Everyone is oddly excited? Maybe it's just me. Maybe I'm the one oddly excited. Guano crazy even this morning but now I'm actually having fun. Seems kind of chaotic in the kitchen. Everybody bumping into each other. Must be 4 or 5 turkeys all wrapped in foil. A big or huge steel restaurant size pot of mashed potatoes. And me and Bob's big pot of tender corn we're keeping piping hot yet careful to not overcook. Lots of other great looking delicious stuff all covered and ready on the main table. And deserts too, Pumpkin and Peacan pie? Baclava? Bad teeth aside I'm going for some Baclava for sure. It looks homemade! MANIC MUCH? Unbelievable. Stuck in my own prison. My holiday horror. My family Thanksgiving. I was a real mess. I couldn't decide to go left or right or stay right here and hang myself. The usual mess really. I needed some serious 12 Step work but it was all coming to me slow. I needed recovery repetition. Meetings Meetings Meetings, 2 a day sometimes 3. Showing up for my fellowship and recovery took time but it did happen. Now facing the big fear of family and history and future? Holidays? Man, I'm actually making it. Oh sure, I'm far from perfect. Real far. I'm learning bit by bit how to live without the mind altering substances and also how to live with myself, my head. I'll admit it can start off rough at times. I seem to want to just self destruct. Make myself pay for who I've been. Use again? As if that will work one more time even when I have proven over and over it won't. But now after these past few hours participating where I belong? I feel good. And the corn came out perfect. So I'm back at the butt can. Smoking a butt with my new friends. Oh sure the faces are the same as they were a few hours ago but the insides? Our insides? We were different. We were smiling. We felt good about ourselves. We actually did something good and we succeeded too. Me the Prince of corn, my friend the King of mashed potatoes and Debbie the candied yam Queen. We were real friends now. Like family. We were grateful for what we had. This new reason for living was inside us and we wanted more. Someone said we were really giving thanks like this was a great Thanksgiving. We all agreed, yes we were grateful to be a part of it. Someone said Christmas is going to be nuts! Big sober Holiday Alca-thon! I said out loud well.. good thing it's one day at a time. The laughter just fell out of us. We laughed as if laughing was normal.

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