Wednesday, April 08, 2009

step one, we could have lots of fun...

I got an email today from a Flipper (yeah, I’m still using Flipper) requesting an update on me not drinking. I think the fact that I still call it “me not drinking” as opposed to, you know, my sobriety or my alcoholism shows that perhaps, I’m still not fully comfortable basking in the glow of public personal prohibition. I am apparently, however, comfortable with alliteration.
I’m supposed to be living an honest life and I opened this can of worms, so in that spirit, an update you shall get. Big Chris never fails to miss an opportunity to ask when I plan on making amends. I remember years ago, a good friend got out of rehab. I could not WAIT until he called me up to beg for my forgiveness. When finally, I couldn’t take it anymore, I called him.
“Shouldn’t you be making amends to me?”
“Yeah, I don’t do amends.”
At the time, I thought his response was complete bullshit and felt jipped. I now understand his stance. Instead of awkward lattes with people I don’t want to be friends with anymore anyway, I choose to reward those that stuck around with undying loyalty and friendship. So since I have no dicey stories of me calling up half of San Francisco and making amends, I’ll tell you about thanking the person who asked me to get help.
An immensely private person, I won’t reveal his name or anything about him, other than to tell you that one day in October, he took me to breakfast and slid a list of treatment facilities across the formica at me.
I would now ask that you take a moment and imagine what that might be like.
I think it’s fair to say it was horrible for both of us. Revealing the full story in rehab, I heard over and over what a wonderful friend Caption Intervention is and boy, oh boy, aren’t I lucky to have a pal like that.
As clarity crept in, I realized just how right they were. I could’ve blown him off, never spoken to him again, screamed and yelled. He must have been incredibly nervous and profoundly worried to risk my wrath. And perhaps because I’m older and wiser, perhaps because I’m sober and smarter or perhaps because I spent 28 days surrounded by embroidered slogans like “Attitude of Gratitude” framed on the walls, it became very important for me to thank him.
We met in a bar, appropriately enough, and I filled him in on how I was plugging along sans the sauce. I told him about how I’m not wild about 12 Step meetings and how I now keep a mental list of people who aren’t cool with “me not drinking.” (Oh yes.) I hoped that maybe these revelations about how legitimately better, healthier, more enjoyable and much more livable my saved life is might save me the horror of having to actually thank someone to whom I owe far more than a Diet Coke.
But I finally mustered the courage and in an uncharacteristic loss for words, said thank you. I told him that he was right, that I needed help and that I am beyond glad I got it. “And, so, anyway…you know…again…thank you.”
The moment was appropriately awkward, but perhaps for me, just as important as Step 8 is for others. I’m not making a list of people I have harmed and making amends. I’ve made a list of people who have helped and making them watch me squirm.
I hope this gets me off the drunk update hook for awhile, Flippers. Unless of course you want to know about that mental list. Like this one bitch…


Anonymous said...

I do want a peek at that list.

KG said...

Lovely, honest, and heartfelt...!

Evan said...

Awesome. Nice work, Bethy! I was wondering how you decided to get yourself to the clink. Sounds painful but so worth it.

Anonymous said...

Once again, incredibly personal and beautiful look into your life. Thank you so much for your brave honesty about this. And congratulations on your continued sobriety!

Anonymous said...

Most writers can either be funny or serious. You have both.

Sam said...

OMG. I am just going through this right now and I am kind of incredulous that some friends could be that way. We should meet up and compare mental lists.