To Love and To Fall

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TWENTY-FOUR

I want to drink. There is beer in the refrigerator. but I am scared to touch another drop after what I have been through. I can’t believe I have lost three days. Maybe it is even longer, over a week. I can’t remember when the Giants were supposed to play on Monday night. December something. I keep looking at the beer. Three days gone. I wonder what I have done. Five messages, maybe would give me an idea of what I did.

Well, I didn’t kill anyone with my car, that was for sure. It was at the University Rathskeller ready to be towed. The message was on Friday. No dead bodies lying in the middle of the street on account of me. Gary’s voice came on, twice. I wished I called him, filled with regret. I want to puke so badly. Melissa came next. She was back from vacation. The temp had described me well enough for her to figure out it was me. She said she was thinking and praying for me. A touch of the ice within me melted. I could call anytime. I thought about it as Artie came on the phone, reminding me that his book signing was tomorrow, meaning nineteen hours from now. I couldn’t wait. I didn’t care about his attiude anymore. I was sick of being who I was. And obviously he was doing something right and I was doing something wrong. I couldn’t even see Artie drunk. Beer called me again. And somehow my fingers began calling Melissa. It seemingly happened without my volition.

She was over in twenty minutes, immediately dumping the beer. I panic as she does this even though I didn’t want to drink. It was amazing how even in defeat I am pulled towards my conqueror. After she dumped the beer, she reads from the Bible and some other AA books that she brought with her. I have no conscious memory of her words, but her voice soothes me to sleep. She stays with me, the next day giving me soup and coffee. My nerves cannot stop shaking. I never remember feeling this bad in my life. I couldn’t wait to see Artie that night. Mel tells me that there was a meeting at nine o’clock. I felt relived that help was on the way.

Seventeen hours seems like forever even with my sleeping through half of it, but I survive. I sit in the back of the room where Artie was having his signing, ready to jump from my seat. If Mel wasn’t holding my hand I would have bolted and left. Artie was genuinely surprised to see me afterwards. “I thought you didn’t like me,” he greeted me.

“I don’t. But maybe I’ll change my mind.” He grins. It was the first time that day that I cracked a smile as well.

Artie gives me a copy of his book for free. He signs it, “Here’s to many sober years.” I certainly hoped so.

We go to the nine o’clock meeting. I never thought I’d be so happy to be sitting in a church basement. They went around in a circle taking turns talking. When they got around to me, I said, “My name is Tom and I’m an alcoholic.”

They all said hello and I knew then that I belonged.

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