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Breakdown Lane | A Personal Journey of Recovery | Part 20 – Driving the Dotted White Line

Liked stalled cars on the side of the highway, a couple more friends were opting to pull out of the party circuit scene in the hopes of finding smoother, better paved roads in the land of sobriety. I’d never really pulled away from the party circuit scene, which is what’s strongly advised for a while first when getting sober. It wasn’t like I was supposed to wipe every person I’d had relations with off the planet or anything like that but hanging out until six in the morning at house parties and going to New York to circuit parties from two in the morning until four the next afternoon were, well, danger zones for sure.
          But, I rationalized; I needed to put on a good face, I needed to show myself, or more importantly all those other people that I was a strong-willed person. Even if I was going to a rehab treatment center on an outpatient basis, I could still do both, right? My past needn’t catch up with me in that regard, right?
          This dual life I was living was, of course, something else I didn’t share with group or with anyone in Alcoholics Anonymous. I thought my sober groups would ‘tsk’ at me and they’d judge me as just another drunk not wanting to truly change. Although true, I found it frightening because I thought maybe if I did ever go back to drinking again I wanted my friends in that world to still be there for me. It was the first time I’d thought like that since I’d entered the recovery treatment center. I was about one and half months sober. 
          Down deep I knew the people in A.A. were right in this assumption, but what they didn’t realize was that I have an incredible stubborn streak. I was relying on this to get me through, but was that enough? Probably not. I’d made a decision to stay sober, and as I’d said before it was the one thing about me that I could say every day that was the absolute truth. I’m an alcoholic. Period! No question about it.
          That was about the time a couple of my ‘friends’ decided to see what this, as they said it, ‘sobriety-thing’ was all about.
          They’d done the right thing by calling me first instead of just showing up to meetings and surprising me. One of them, Andy, explained he took some time to evaluate his life and thought that since I had done it maybe he should too. That’s one of the dreaded perks of being sober; those friends you once partied sometimes might begin looking at themselves and their drinking and drugging patterns and behaviors. Which, I suppose in some way is a good thing. I’d become a reluctant role model. At least that’s what my ego told me. Adversity can draw the true friends toward you as they support you in your life, but it can also create enemies. 
          In my case, those enemies were people who were threatened by my sobriety. Once people I’d shared intimate relations with were turning their backs on me and that hurt a bit.
          When Andy entered Alcoholics Anonymous I was happy to have someone I knew already, someone I’d spent time with, even if it was getting high and solving the world’s problems in one minute and forgetting them the next. It was still a bonding experience, so it was only natural that I’d bring him around to meetings and introduce him to the friends I’d already made. We’d gossip in the back of the A.A. rooms and, although I didn’t smoke, we’d take frequent cigarette breaks. After our meetings we’d hang out a coffee shop with other members, but were always sure to get our own table and giggle a great deal. 
          After a couple weeks, close to my sixty days, Andy asked if I knew about the party at a small warehouse off Brookline Street, a mere two blocks from where I lived. Of course I hadn’t because as much as I tried it was impossible to still run tightly with that group. It was a Friday night party, which was billed to go until Saturday afternoon.
          We made plans to attend, but would go early Saturday. “It’ll be a scream, don’t you think? See all our old friends. Everyone will be there, and it’s been forever.”
          Is two weeks the same as ‘forever?
          And then he added, “I need you to come with me. I want to do this but I need someone sober in case I run into trouble.”
          My common sense, which was honestly finding its way to the forefront but clearly failing at this moment, should have suggested something else. All, I needed to hear was that my friend needed me. So, I decided a compromise would be in order. We planned to meet at nine in the morning, have breakfast, and then head off to the party no later than eleven. My compromise was to go to an eleven o’clock A.A. meeting and then hit the party. He hesitated, blinked once, and sighed. 
          “I think it will be good. Get a head full of A.A. before we go, don’t you?”
          There was a pause on Andy’s behalf, “Yeah, of course. Let’s do that.”
          Trouble was brewing. My gut knew I was being set up to court disaster and I was quickly veering off track. But, my head told me Andy wouldn’t set me up. He was my friend, and we were in this together. We could keep each other sober because that’s what we wanted. 
          Well, at least, as it turned out, that’s what I wanted.


To the next part in the series — A Personal Journey of Recovery | Part 21 – The Trade-In — Click Here