Sunday, April 22, 2007

Three Drunks Conversing

I’m down at the shopping center. It is an absolutely gorgeous spring day. I am embroiled in a conversation with George and Ferret over the merits of Alcoholics Anonymous. George is smoking his favorite Garcia Vega cigars and nursing a bottle of Wild Irish Rose wine. Ferret is nervously fidgeting as he watches George drink that swill. We are all sitting on a bench up from the dollar store.

“A.A. is nothing but a religious cult for white people,” George says. “Those people are brainwashed.”

“You are the poster child for someone who needs to go to A.A.,” I reply. “And A.A. is more spiritual than religious.”

An aggravated look comes over George’s face.

“I’m not an alcoholic,” George says. “I just like to drink.”

“If you’ve been in jail multiple times for drinking then I would say you’re an alcoholic,” Ferret chimes in rightly.

George laughs nervously and says, “I was just at the wrong place at the wrong time.”

“Like the time you ran over your mother’s mailbox, drunk,” I say.

“The mailbox was in the way,” George replies with a goofy grin trying to play that off.

I and Ferret laugh heartily. George was traversing down that river named denial. I’ve gone down that river a few times myself over the years. My drunken homeless days come to mind.

“What do you get out of A.A.?” Ferret asks me, curiously.

“I get a sense of belonging and camaraderie,” I reply. “Everybody looks out for each other.”

“It bothers me that no black people go, though,” Ferret says.

“They all go to the Narcotics Anonymous meetings,” I say. “You should try some.”

“I still think all of you are a bunch of brainwashed idiots,” George then chimes in.

“Fuck you, George,” I reply. “You need those meetings about more than anybody I know.”

George smiles at getting a rise out of me. That was his intent. This is all just a fun game for him.

“Ferret, if black people start coming to those meetings then maybe more will show up as well,” I tell him. “Maybe you can start a trend.”

“I will think about it,” Ferret says. “I still feel extremely uncomfortable about going though.”

I realize A.A. is not for everyone. Much of A.A. doesn’t suit me as well, but I take the good with the bad. People such as Wanda have immeasurably helped me in staying sober. I can go and talk about my trials and tribulations with a group of people that care and understand. I do understand George’s concern about it being a religious cult. It is. Like I said, I take the good with the bad and the good definitely outweighs the negatives of the program. I just leave the religious aspects on the wayside when I enter those doors for a meeting. I do hope Ferret decides to start going with me.

“Go to church,” George then tells Ferret. “Jesus can take away the compulsion to drink. Jesus can do anything if you ask him.”

I smirk. George has tried church many times, but he still ends up drunk at the end of the day.

“Some mythical being in the sky isn’t going to keep you from drinking,” I reply. “You can read in the Big Book about many drunks trying church and religion and it never works. They always end up back in the gutter, drunk.”

George grew offended at me saying Jesus was mythical.

“You trying to say Jesus ain’t real?”

“No, I am saying that Jesus ain’t gonna get you sober,” I reply. “You are going to get yourself sober with the help of a support group and A.A. is a support group. Your average church is not equipped to deal with the issues a drunk can face.”

George then wanted to start arguing about religion, but I wasn’t playing that game. I cut him off by telling him to just drop it.

“Will you go with me to a meeting?” Ferret then asked.

“I will go as many times as you need me to,” I reply. “It helps me stay sober by helping others stay sober. That is the cornerstone of the A.A. program.”

“I like that,” Ferret says. “Helping yourself by helping others. I really like that.”

There was a glimmer of hope expressed in Ferret’s eyes and face as we concluded our conversation. I’ve been there too before. Alcoholism is such a lonely and desolate disease and you grow comforted that others share your same plight and have experienced the same trials and tribulations. Ferret told me he would think about going some more, and would let me know soon. I can only encourage, but not make him go. That first step is up to Ferret. May he find A.A. and that new way of life as they say in the program.


KYRIE said...

Yeah for Ferret! I really do hope he goes! It is a small miracle I feel u getting him to change his mindset like tht. If only George's mom can knock some sense into him!

Andrew said...

LOL, Kyrie, George's mom is a saint and I am always amazed she still puts up with him. Three cheers for Ferret and I do hope he starts going with me. Only time will tell.

simonsays said...

I am hoping that you can help Ferret help himself. You are such a good friend---they are lucky to have you. Hang in there, Andrew.

Moonlink said...

I started to explore blogs this weekend, and 4th Avenue Blues was one of the first blogs I discovered.

I like your blog very much. It's honest, and unvarnished. I'm glad that you are working on a book, because I think that many people will be interested in your work.

Carolyn Chute authored a very successful first novel, " The Beans of Egypt Maine." She wrote about her life and the people in it. It was very interesting, because of the subject matter.

However, Carloyn tried too hard to make her narrative brilliant, so her phrasing could be clumsy, and stilted. As she continued to produce more books, her writing eventually choked her story. Unfortunately, it was her story that made her so readable, so after a brilliant first book, very few people remember her.

I would advise you to go to the library, and get "The Beans of Egypt Maine." It was her best work, and your writing reminds me of all the things I loved about this book. I especially like the flow of your narrative. It's fresh, and doesn't mask the story. Keep doing exactly what you are doing. I will be one of the first to read your book.

paunovic said...

“I’m not an alcoholic,” George says. “I just like to drink.”

Ha, like my father (:

I hope that your friend gonna be smarter than my dad, but with that attitude, hardly.

abbagirl74 said...

Ah sweetie, you are a saint. You are the true definition of a good friend.

Summer said...

What abbagirl said!

Cheryl said...

What abbagirl said! Go Ferret!

I read moonlink's comment and agree. I loved 'The Beans of Egypt Maine'.

Amanda said...

There's no program or even religion out there that will appeal to everyone. Which is why I'm so grateful for the huge diversity of thought out there. One can just choose whatever works for them.