Scene: Alcoholics Anonymous Women’s Meeting, Center City Philadelphia
Hello, I’m Zan, and I’m an alcoholic.
Thanks for inviting me to speak today. I could use it. I’ve been skipping meetings lately because I’m so busy at work.
Ha! My sponsor Becca is giving me a dirty look. Yes, Becca, more than work has kept me busy. I met a man, an amazing man, and he’s got me totally freaked out.
From your nods I can tell I’m in the right place. Sharing about it will help me, but don’t worry. I know I’m supposed to talk about my sobriety. I guess my theme is how people like us struggle with relationships because ours were so messed up for so long. I’m not used to feeling out of control, at least not since I worked so hard to get my life together.
The first time I sobered up was during my service. I did three tours of duty in Afghanistan, in the Army. I was a mess through the first half. Headed for a dishonorable discharge. I got blind, stinking drunk whenever I could, which was surprisingly often considering we weren’t supposed to have alcohol. I won’t beleaguer the fact, but suffice it to say I had a lot of bad sex with a lot of pig men.
No one can understand like you can. Nothing compares to how much a certain species of man will shit on a woman who doesn’t think she’s worth anything.
So, yeah, I was fucked up, but midway through my second tour I got a new commanding officer. He was a sober drunk and he saved my life. This program saved my life. I surrounded myself with sober people and they held me up while I put myself back together.
I did well after that, got recruited into a special unit. I was proud of myself, but that phase of my service was intense. When I finished my third tour I didn’t re-enlist. I wanted to go to college and I had just lost my best friend Patrick to the war.
While I was still in the army, I could cope with his death. The structure helped me, I guess. But when I got out I relapsed. I was so lost. I was already in school and I felt so out of place. I play the guitar, so I joined a rock-n-roll band.
You know how the program teaches us we need to let go of our resentments? Well, I held onto mine with both hands. Same way I held on to those pretty frat boys while I fucked their brains out, hating them all the while.
Yeah. Perverse. I finally sobered up after I almost broke one of the frat boy’s jaws with a dictionary, one of those giant Oxford things. It was a pretty good weapon.
Heh, heh. It’s okay to laugh. He deserved it. He tried to introduce his buddy into the action. Kind of a trigger for me.
Um, um, let me see. I used to talk to Patrick in my head. I could hear him telling me I shouldn’t be living like that. The program saved me again. I sobered up and worked my ass off and graduated with honors. I got accepted into the FBI training program, probably because of my service. I’ve never looked back. I’ve done well. Done my job.
After a while, I tried dating. I figured that’s what normal people do, but I was just going through the motions. Mostly, it was boring. Or horrible.
Now I’m seeing this man. He’s not like anyone I’ve ever met. He’s totally smoking hot, but it’s more than that. Sometimes he’s rock solid, filled with wisdom. I want to trust him, rely on him. I want to tell him all my secrets and have him soothe me. Other times he seems confused and sad. So sad. I want to wrap him in my arms and stop anyone from hurting him, ever.
And I, um, I can’t handle these feelings. I don’t know how to act. I started binge drinking when I was 13 and this man, he turns me into that scared, neglected little girl again. Like I don’t know what’s real. I know it’s the disease talking. I know alcohol robbed me of the years when I was supposed to learn what it was like to have healthy relationships. I can’t get that back, but I can try to be grateful for all of you, here today. Many of you have probably been through something like this. I’ll listen and learn. Thanks for letting me share.