Continued from Part 4 – My Work Was Cut Out For Me
With the familiar sounds of tinkling glasses and the indistinct chatter of people coming through the phone from his end, I was convinced my friend, Nick, a friend of twenty-five years, a friend who I got sober with at an alcohol and drug treatment facility was in trouble. He was in a bar and he was lying about it.
I stood up from my desk, glanced at my watch. It was 9:30 am here on the west coast, 12:30 pm there. Moving to the door leading out to the morning sunshine, I flung the door open a bit harder than expected. He could be at a restaurant having lunch, I told myself. Anything is possible. It took about a minute to get outside, a good distance from the door. During that time, neither one of us said a word. I thought maybe we gotten disconnected.
“You still there?” I asked, hoping he was.
“Yeah,” he muttered.
I thought I could hear him drinking something, but my mind had to be playing tricks on me. As far as I was concerned he was a stronger man than I when it came to his sobriety. I leaned on him when times were tough, and he, from what he told me, had others to lean on in his support group. I was scared, but told myself that he was probably going through a rough time at work and was trying to figure out how to talk to me about it. It was like him to share that part of his life very openly with me.
His job is high pressure most of the time. He’d been with them since he’d graduated college, which is simply unheard of now-a-days. He had tenure and was just a few years away from an early retirement. His stocks, his investments had withstood the economic disaster from the 2008-2009 downturn. He was lucky.
“So, what’s going on with you?” I asked, my voice stern.
“What do you mean?”
“Well, you’ve sort of disappeared there for a while, Nick. That’s not like you unless you’re out of the country. As far as I know, you didn’t leave the country. Did you? Because if you did, that’s fine obviously. It’d be understandable.” I was rambling but couldn’t stop. “I didn’t expect a call back on your birthday, but when you didn’t get back to me sooner than now, well, I started to worry.” I took a breath, my hand tightening on the phone.
“I went to Maine.”
Not exactly out of the country. There was a long pause, and I held onto the phone waiting. A bus drove by, rumbling loudly, so I pushed the phone closer to my ear. He didn’t extrapolate on the what that meant. This wasn’t like him. So, I said what I thought would be the right thing.
“Do you need help?”
“What I need,” he emphasized the word ‘need’ with irritation, “is to call you back later. Can I do that? I need to talk to you about some things in the past, and my sponsor is on his way here. We’re on our way to a meeting.”
I was stunned. Did this mean he was sober still? “Okay, give me a call back when you get out of your meeting. I have another group meeting at 10, so call me later, okay?”
“Sure, I’ll call you later,” and he hung up.
I closed my phone, and realized I had more questions than I started with.
Check out Part 6 – We Will Work Through This