I saw an old childhood friend at the noon LaGrange A.A. meeting. He was shocked when he saw me. We haven't see each other since attending school together as children.
"You go to these meetings?" he asked, astonished.
"Yeah, I do," I replied as I shook his hand, embarrassed.
"I always thought you would be a doctor by now. Not some drunk attending A.A. meetings," he told me as he chuckled.
I laughed nervously back. He was here because he was court ordered having gotten a D.U.I.
"I screwed up," he said. "I got drunk and drove to try and see my ex-wife. We had been fighting. These court costs are costing me a fortune!"
I went on inside and sat down ready for a meeting. My friend followed me in and sat beside me holding his court papers to be signed. The meeting started.
"Please bring your court papers up to the front to be signed," the chairperson said at the start of the meeting. My friend sheepishly walked up there to get his papers autographed.
"Humiliating," he said, whispering as he sat down beside me again.
I patted him on the shoulder and told him no one was thinking badly of him. We see it all the time. So many court ordered people come and go. Most of us had been there at one point or another in our lives.
Today's meeting was about gratitude -- gratitude for sobriety and gratitude for all the good things you have in your life. It was a meeting much needed as I have a tendency to be depressed and morose -- thinking only of the negatives. A side effect of my schizophrenia.
"I have serious gratitude for being sober today," I said as I shared. "It truly is a miracle and God is working wonders in my life."
The meeting ended and I bid my friend farewell knowing I would never see him again unless he had more court ordered meetings to attend.
"Don't be a stranger," he said as he climbed into his car after giving me his cell phone number.
"I'll try not to," I said as I then drove the thirty minutes home.
I've been there before having gotten a D.U.I. to similar circumstances. Mine ended in a broken arm and shoulder though. You would have thought I would have learned my lesson then and quit drinking. I always was hardheaded and incorrigible.