As I was thinking about what to write I was listening to Carole talking on the phone to a friend of hers. This friend got sober with Carole, and they continued on for about five years as sobriety buddies. In a few weeks, Carole will have thirteen years sober and this friend will not.
It is tragically text book. The friend has lost her job and her career, her partner, their child, her house, her health, her money. A few weeks ago her father, an AA longtimer, passed away, days before her mother’s surgery for cancer. I can’t imagine what her mother is going through. When her father died, she was at the age at which he had gotten sober, and so there way hope of a happy coincidence, but it hasn’t happened.
She keeps coming back. Sort of. She hasn’t let go of the hope of the program completely yet. It’s painful to listen to Carole try to hit upon the magic words that will turn her mind and bring her back to try one more time, before it’s too late. At this point of course she’s not just another struggling alcoholic, she’s a dear friend, and it hurts to see her go through these things and then listen to the silence as she disappears again. It’s not all entirely useless because she keeps me sober, she surely does.
Today I went to work and I tried, at times, to consider my character defects and do the spot check inventory. Sort of. I was walking the dog this morning when my work partner called, and as she warmed up to what she was going to say my mind flew in twelve different directions. Mostly I was sure I had done something very wrong, and had been caught, and even as I had those thoughts, I knew at the same time that it probably wasn’t that, and I decided and undecided and redecided that I can’t handle the stress of the job, or that I can handle it. Or not. On this inventory I believe I see that my ego is trying hard to get out of control.
I hadn’t done the wrong thing, but someone else had, and it had to be dealt with. I’m pretty sure that my experience and age and calm manner can be a plus in this and other situations, but there’s also heat involved and at times lots of bad feelings from the people who just won’t see it my way. At times, in consultation with my partner and our boss and maybe others, we know that my way really is the right way, and we have young people who work with us that we need to guide, whether they agree with it or not. And it’s all still wrapped in the cloth of “if only.” I don’t think that way nearly as much as I used to, but I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t cross my mind. The fires we need to put out were fought by my old supervisor, the one they did away with. Parts of this situation are just bad, bad, bad.
Tomorrow I’m off from work and I’m going to get my physical. I need one every two years, and I’m interested to see how much my weight has changed from two years ago. I hope it’s good news because dieting sucks. But mostly I’m very very grateful to be going again to the doctor with really no complaints beyond the standard bloody never ending menopause. Contrasting my experience with that of Carole’s friend, I’m just in awe. I really hope she gets it one day soon.