I had never been faced with the prospect of Thanksgiving alone in the 35 years of my life. My family left me uninvited as they journeyed four hours to my cousin's house for their Thanksgiving meal. "It would be too much on you," my father said, meaning they would be embarrassed if I had another anxiety attack or if I acted strange due to all the social pressure.
Dinner found me invited over at the local Baptist church for my Thanksgiving meal. A meal prepared for poor and indigent people out of the kindness of the church's patron's hearts. The smell of raw onion wafted through the air accompanied by the sounds of a football game playing out on the big screen television in the dining hall. It was a wonderful meal of turkey and dressing, candied sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, and banana pudding for dessert (the best banana pudding I had ever eaten). A small church service was shared after the meal where the pastor spoke of giving thanks to God and to our fellow man. I had never seen people so in need, or so thankful for a warm, nourishing meal, and it gave a special reason and feeling to Thanksgiving day.
Earlier in the day, I had a phone call from someone who reads this blog. I had reluctantly given out my phone number -- my old phone phobias trying to act up. We talked for what seemed like an hour. As if we were old friends. She experienced anxiety attacks much as I have and wanted to share her wisdom and experience in dealing with them. It made the day not quite so lonely to have someone to talk to. We spoke and spoke as I nervously drank sodas and smoked little cigars.
The day ended with me and Maggie curled up in the bed as I watched television and read the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. I gravitate towards the worst case scenario tales in that little blue book -- it makes me feel more comforted and hopeful. To know that these terrible, horrible drunks -- the kind of drunks who almost lost everything and everybody -- can get sober and stay sober to live healthy and productive lives. There is hope for me yet! I hope your Thanksgiving was as pleasantly dysfunctional as much as mine was.