Sunday, November 25, 2007

Meet Me Halfway...

I met Clara halfway to Columbus, Georgia late last night. It was a spur of the moment encounter I so enjoy.  I was pulling up into a convenience store's parking lot as she got out of a friend's truck and ran over to greet me. She looked so well, and had gained about twenty pounds. Her cheeks were rosy, and the color had returned to her skin. That old alcoholic pall had been cast away.

"Tell me about your living arrangements," I asked her as we sat in my car, smoking our cigarillos.

"I only have to pay 1/4th of my monthly income for rent," she said. "I got totally lucky in finding that apartment. The waiting list is usually two years for section 8 housing."

"Are you happy?"

"I have good days and bad days," she told me. "I still struggle with the drinking. I had a slip up a few weeks ago."

"I struggle, too," I replied. "So you are not alone. I hate to say it, but we will probably deal with these urges for the rest of our lives."

"It gets easier, though," Clara said with a smile. "My successes build upon themselves."

"Have you met anyone?" I then asked.

"Just friends," Clara replied. "You know what they say about relationships and being new to sobriety."

"They (AA) tell you to wait about a year."

We talked for a long time about AA. Clara got on to me for not going regularly and she is right. I need to get back to going, but my social phobias have been acting up lately. She seemed so well though -- so full of life and vigor. I was so excited for her. It is going to be a good Christmas, and I promised her I would take her out on a Christmas date in celebration of our sobriety during a time that would usually find us hopelessly drunk. She has come a long way since this summer.

With sadness, I watched as Clara left me to reunite with her friend who had grown impatient.  It was a long drive home near midnight as I thought of my once homeless friend.  We've both seen and gone through so much in our short lives.  I wondered if it was our cross to bear to struggle so.  Seeing her gave me hope in that old scourge alcoholism had relented some.  That's all we can do is keep hope dear and continue to abstain.  One day at a time is all it takes and meeting makers make it.  Remind me to get to an AA meeting today. Seeing a sober and happy Clara makes me yearn for the magic you can only find in those meeting halls.    


justLacey said...

Wonderful and miraculous. What a great meeting that was.

amelia said...

That is a great Christmas present for you, knowing you helped her get where she is!!!

C.A. said...

Andrew...THAT'S Clara? She's beautiful! OMG, I pictured her as old and haggard. She's gorgeous! Look at those dimples!

You did a good thing, my friend...a very good thing!


Andrew said...


She did look old and haggard a few months ago. She looked downright sick. She's gained A LOT of weight being sober and being in that outpatient program. My whole family says I look a lot different when I am drinking as well. Dad was telling me yesterday how normal my face looks these days, and not all puffy with black under my eyes.

madamspud169 said...

If the lady in the photo is Clara then please tell her from me that she is a lovely looking woman. I love her cheeky smile and you are right they are rosy. She looks fit and healthy and I think attractive.
My husband saw the photo on my screen and asked who she was. He wouldn't believe she was only recently a homeless person struggling with alcoholism. He said she looked good and healthy, full of life. I agree well done Clara. And well done you for helping her through her recent struggles.

justLacey said...

What photo, I don't see any photo?

Andrew said...


I took it down. I didn't have Clara's permission to put her photo on this blog and felt kind of uneasy about it.

C.A. said...

Andrew, I'm glad I did get to see Clara. I don't know why, but I pictured her much older. It just goes to show you how our imaginations work. She really looks lovely now, with that fresh faced "girl next door" kind of look. I do understand why you took it down, though.

It's great that you're looking more "normal", LOL. But I think normal is all in the individual perception.

I'm so glad you go your camera back.

CJM-R said...

That was a very heartwarming post. Good for Clara, and good for her helping to remind you about meetings.

Who would have thought back in the summer that she would have taken to the program?

Glad you got to reconnect.

Love the photos, color is amazing!

Have a nice Sunday,

jacobithegreat said...

This is your reminder: go to the AA meeting!

Cheryl said...

I'm sorry I missed the picture of Clara, but I understand why you deleted it. I'm thrilled to hear how well she's doing. She was so bad before.

So, is there a meeting in your


Bummer, I missed the picture..too!! But I will keep to it with my imagination..

I am so happy for you completely!!

I'm glad you have her as a friend!
And your lives will meet again...I feel it. :)

simonsays said...

I think this is awesome, and to think that YOU are the one that led her to her current life. Andrew, you are a great, great friend. :)

abbagirl74 said...

Darn! I am sorry I missed the picture of Clara. I guess that's what happens when you don't check in every day. Oh well!

I am very happy you got to visit with her. I am sure she appreciated the time.

Kelly Jene said...

I'm so glad you got to see her! Just by your description she really sounds like she's doing great. That's awesome!