A storm blew through this afternoon bringing our first rain in weeks. You could almost see nature turn a shade greener. I walked through my rain soaked neighborhood on my way to my A.A. meeting. All the birds were chirping and singing jubilantly at nature's great gift that was bestowed upon us today. We have been in a terrible drought.
I arrived at the A.A. meeting hall after walking through Rosa's neighborhood on the way. My good friend, Wanda, was sitting on the back porch smoking cigarettes and talking to the dreaded Sandy.
"Wasn't that rain incredible?" Wanda asked as she got up from her chair to give me a hug.
"It was wondrous," were my words. I hadn't been that excited in a long time to see such a sight.
I and Wanda then got on the topic of that addict that got ran off a few weeks ago by an old timer, Bob.
"That made me so uncomfortable," Wanda said. "I felt so sorry for the fellow."
"I got angry," I replied. "I thought it was a terrible thing for Bob to say and do."
"We don't need any addicts at A.A." Sandy said, smugly.
"Weren't you an addict?" I asked, my anger growing once more.
"Not to any drugs," Sandy said.
I realized it was fruitless to argue with this man and changed the subject. Alcohol is a drug and a mood altering substance no matter what Sandy thinks and he is an old timer and should know better. He was as much an addict as any person who smoked crack or snorted cocaine.
"Have you come to terms with a God of your understanding?" Wanda then asked.
"I'm keeping my mind open," I said as I smiled. "I almost quit coming because of religious conflicts and then decided to give it another try."
"Until you find Jesus, you ain't stayin' sober long," Sandy said. "Jesus took away my urge to drink."
I sighed, but smiled at Wanda. I realized Sandy was an old fool and couldn't help his bigoted ways. You would think after years of a 12 step self help program, he would be a kinder and more forgiving soul – more open to other ideas on sobriety and living life.
"Keep coming back," Wanda said. "That's all I ask of you. It works if you word it."
"Time for a meeting!" the chairperson then said, sticking his head out the door.
We all filed in after putting out our cigarettes and cigars to sit down and begin another Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. I shared about my support group meeting tomorrow and that I needed everyone's good wishes to get through it. I talked of my extreme shyness and social anxiety which I have rarely revealed in these meeting halls. Even stodgy old Sandy wished me good luck and spoke about tomorrow's meeting.
"I think we were all insane when drinking," he said. "Sobriety brought us back to sanity and gave us a new lease on life. I hope your new meeting will bring some comfort and sanity to those seeking help."
I was truly surprised at his compassion and thanked him. I walked up to him after the meeting to tell him so.
"Sandy, I know we've had our disagreements," I said. "But I do appreciate your words of support."
"A.A and support groups saved my life," he replied. "I hope your meetings will do the same for others."
We shook hands and I left to walk on home knowing George was not going to show tonight. He had called me earlier saying he was "sick" which meant he had been drinking all day and had a terrible hangover. Sunday is his day off from his fly-by-night taxi service. As I walked, I thought of Sandy and his kind words. "There is hope for the old fool yet," were the words I said to myself as I passed the shopping center and headed home.