Day 183: Disappearing Acts

I don’t know what’s in the air. Springtime? Love? Or maybe it’s the malt and yeast rising up from the breweries and distilleries across the river. But, people in my AA home group are starting to drop like flies.

In the past few weeks several members of my home group, some with long term sobriety, have relapsed. Luckily, many of them have made it back to AA already. That’s fortunate. A lot of relapsers go down for the count and don’t find their way back into the rooms, or, if they do, it takes a long time and a lot of loss.

It’s been an eye opener. You hear the statistics of AA’s success, and while it’s promising, it certainly isn’t 100%, not even close. So, I guess it was to be expected that a few people disappear, some, to never return.

There was one girl though, who I chatted with occasionally, saw a movie with once, and started the program at around the same time as, who’d altogether disappeared. It struck me as odd. Several folks who I had no expectation of ever seeing again were back the morning after their relapse. This girl though, I never pinned her for the type to vanish into the abyss. AA was her life. Much like me, it seemed that she didn’t have much in the outside world to tie herself to, she had made AA her home base.

After a few weeks of her being absent from the meeting, I sort of forgot about her. I had meant to call. Of course, I didn’t. But, as luck would have it, it was me who got the call. Yesterday evening I got a text from the girl I’d been wondering about. She told me she’d relapsed for a short period and she’d be in an inpatient rehab center in the Portland area. She told me she was being discharged and asked if I’d pick her up.

So, this morning, I hopped in my breathalyzer-free car, and buzzed across town to meet her. She exited the building looking the same as she always does, sporting a hat and boots. She flung her bag in my back seat, got in the car, and lit a cigarette as we chatted and drove back across town. She told me about her slip, and how she was actually grateful for it. It had taught her some valuable lessons and had given her a much deeper appreciation for the relationships that she has made in AA.

It felt nice picking her up. Yes, it was AA service, but, it was nice to know that someone who barely knows me, except for our AA connection, trusts me enough to call me and admit relapsing. It’s hard to come back to your AA home group and say, hey, I fucked up. While AA is there to catch you, the group also depends on you to stay sober. The whole group takes a blow when someone goes out.

The sun shone brightly over our fair city of Portland. Warm air swept over our faces as we breezed forward. I pulled into her driveway and helped her with her bags. She thanked me for the ride and support. As she walked up toward her door, she looked back at me.

“You gonna be at the meeting tomorrow morning?”

“You bet.” I said.

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