One of the biggest differences I have noticed in me lately is that I crave human contact. For years, I shied away from humans, scared of them. Long, lonely nights would be spent drinking and listening to music that would make me cry. It was a sad and lonely existence not fit for even the meekest of us. Steely Dan. Joni Mitchell. Bruce Coburn. All maestros that once sung the soundtrack that was my life.
Last night, I went to a Sunday evening Alcoholics Anonymous speaker's meeting. A good time was had by all and there was a wonderful young man sharing his story. He had been in and out of psychiatric hospitals with homicidal and suicidal thoughts for years. He got sober at twenty three... twenty three. He said he drank to hide his pain. I also drank to hide my pain and to assuage my social anxieties. I felt a strong tying chord with him.
"Thanks for sharing your story," I told the young man after the meeting as I shook his hand vigorously.
"No, thank you," he replied, catching me by surprise. "Thank you for being here to listen to it. Keep coming back."
I watched as a group of cranky, old alcoholics gathered around this young man to say thanks and to encourage him, too, to keep coming back. I thought of the courage it took to get in front of a very large group of people to speak. "I want that," I thought. "I want that confidence. I want to be so sure of myself."
I arrived home to find that Rosa had cooked supper. It was such a nice surprise. The house smelled of wonderful food as I walked in the door. Barbecue chicken. Field peas. German potato salad. Fried okra. All comfort foods that I enjoy.
"You are a saint," I told Rosa sitting at my kitchen table hungrily eating.
"I can cook, you know," Rosa replied as she smiled.
"And what a wonderful cook you are," I said leaning over the table to give her a kiss.
It was so nice to come home to something like that. A surprise. I usually do all the cooking. We sat out on my porch for hours after supper and the last light of the sunlight faded away. Cigarillos were smoked and much calm and quiet conversation was had.
"You're different lately," Rosa told me at one point.
"I think I have found a higher power," I replied. "A purpose for living."
"What is your purpose?" Rosa then asked.
"I want to help others. I want to help others stay sober and to get through their mental illnesses."
"I just want you to be happy," Rosa told me. "And if that makes you happy then I say go for it."
The day ended with our usual rituals. Rosa took a long bath as I curled up on the couch reading a book as the Weather Channel softly droned on the television. I took my nightly medications and then drifted off into slumber land, curled up in the bed with Maggie and Rosa by my side. It was a quiet, calm, and serene day much needed out of the many tumultuous days I had experienced in my life. I hope you all have a great day today and I am off for my morning walk.