I realized this wasn't going to work the moment I heard him speak. His voice was like fingernails rasping across a chalkboard. I would have to talk to this person often on the phone. I hate to be so petty, but it was the truth. I hated that voice. Our avenue for our meeting was also suspect being a burger joint due to his request. McDonald's. Gross. I imagined many meetings here at this scourge of culinary crassness over my preferred coffee and omelet at the Waffle House.
"I know this great guy," Wanda had said on the phone. "I think he would be a great sponsor for you. Meet us for lunch."
He was near my age. He had gotten sober at twenty-five. Can you imagine? I didn't know my ass from a hole in the wall at twenty-five, let alone having the soundness of mind to get sober at such an early age. Drinking and getting drunk was cool then. All my friends got drunk and stoned. I would have been a social pariah by abstaining.
"How long have you been sober?" He asked me over fries and ketchup, spilling some on his shirt.
"I don't keep count these days," I said, long ago having quit practicing the chip system of A.A. "It's been awhile."
I could tell he didn't like my answer at all. It was just a major hurdle for me to show up for this so I didn't care. I just wanted to go home, curl up in the chair on my porch, and read chapter twenty of my book. I was doing this for my dear friend, Wanda. I have not had my mind much on Alcoholics Anonymous anyway.
"So what did you think?" Wanda asked as we walked out to our cars in the parking lot.
"He was cool," I replied out of niceness and respect. The guy did take the time out of his life to meet me and I owed Wanda this much.
"Do you think you can see him as your sponsor?"
I just knew she was going to ask this awkward question. It is the story of my social anxiety riddled life. They always ask the hard questions.
"I am not ready for a new sponsor, yet," I replied. "I am still getting over Tim."
It came out sounding as if me and Tim were lovers and I was recovering from a terrible and tumultuous breakup. I cringed at my own words. It was weak and I could see the disappointment in Wanda's face.
"Think it over," she said, crawling into her old Ford Crown Victoria as I stood in the parking lot. "Give it some time. I think you two would be great."
I had never been so glad to get in my car and drive home. The whole ordeal was nerve wracking, but I muddled through. Bless Wanda's heart, but this one just wasn't going to work.