carnations-largeToday my sponsee and I went to a women’s AA meeting and afterwards we went out for afternoon tea. Being from England I love a good cuppa and I found this cool little English tea shop.  We ordered a big pot of tea, some sandwiches and followed it up with a massive scone with clotted cream and jam. It was so delicious.

While it was fun and relaxing for both of us, it also reminded us of the many things we missed out on while we were actively drinking and ultimately isolating. We talked about when we were ‘in our disease’; the idea of going out for afternoon tea was ridiculous in itself – that’s what boring people did for God’s sake! There’s also the fact that booze isn’t served in most tea house so we wouldn’t be seen dead in there anyway. Then there’s the entire pretense of being social and around people, we both hated being around people, they only served to get in the way of our drinking. And back then, being out and about in the world only reminded us of how abnormal we felt when we saw normal people going about their business and looking like they belonged, relaxed and content.

I never felt like I belonged anywhere except in front of a bottle with a glass in my hand. That was the only time that I could feel remotely relaxed and if I didn’t have that glass in my hand, my mind was elsewhere, ALWAYS thinking about my next drink, rushing through any interaction I had with another person or anything that got in the way of my ‘mission’. I couldn’t read a bedtime story to my son without thinking about the drink that was waiting for me,  going to the supermarket was a nightmare, the movies were torture, being outside in a park was painful. Any event, big or small took me away from my focus, which was booze; it was a 24 hour obsession that never left me.

To be free of that obsession today is a miracle, to be able to sit in a tea shop with another alcoholic and talk about normal everyday ‘boring’ stuff made me realize the gift I have today. Being in the moment where we both had nowhere else to be, our minds were present and having an honest conversation. Listening and talking with another person without the distraction and the ‘monkey on our backs’. At one point, I even took a moment to pick up the tiny vase of carnations on our table and smell them – who the hell does that? Well, I guess I do now. 


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