Last night our friends who recently relapsed came over for dinner. They have a few days of new sobriety under their belts and we thought that it might be nice for them to get out of the house and away from the guilt and shame they were feeling. We spent several hours talking about alcoholism, recovery, our personal stories, relapse, AA…the list goes on. It was a wonderful evening, I am so glad that they accepted our offer to come visit with us. They shared with us what feelings and events lead them back to drinking, and the consequences that resulted. We shared with them our own tales of relapse and of cleaning up the wreckage. We talked and laughed, as only we alcoholics do, about things that I know would completely horrify the ‘normies’ out there. Even after being in recovery for a few years, it still blows me away how quickly people trying to accomplish the same thing – sobriety – can become completely comfortable talking about very intimate things. We alcoholics bond quickly, I think, because we all share the experience of having lived in the hell that is active alcoholism. It is not a nice place, even just to visit, and I think that talking about it with others like ourselves helps keep us from going back there.
After our friends left last night, I was thinking a lot about how lucky I was to have spent the evening with them. I am filled with gratitude that they both opened up to us, shared their feelings and their fears. I am thankful that I was able to offer my own stories and that helped put them at ease. I am also grateful that all of us were able to be completely comfortable being vulnerable with one another. These days I think that is a beautiful, but rare, thing.
I got a voicemail today from the wife thanking us and saying that it really helped them. That’s so awesome. What I don’t know is if they left here knowing how much they helped us. I’ve written before about keeping it green and remembering my last drunk, but I don’t think that anything helps more than talking to other alcoholics. That’s why I blog, that’s why I go to meetings, that’s why I have a sponsor and that’s why I sponsor others. Together with other alcoholics, we can accomplish the very thing that we could never do alone. For that, I am grateful.