Chapter 3 finds Chris getting coerced into a 12-step rehab after he fucks up again by being hung over and forgetting about a huge deal.
Here in Chapter 4, Stevie’s friend Sharon gets a taste of what the Rooooomz are all about.
7:45PM, August 15th, 2001 (Holy Trinity Church, Port Washington, NY)
Located just two blocks away from the Long Island Sound on a hill with breathtaking panoramic views, The Holy Trinity Church had been the host of AA meetings for as long as most of the members could remember. The Saturday night “Speaker” meeting was always the most well attended and on this picture perfect midsummer evening, the parking lot was filling up fast. At most meetings, there is usually a group that likes to get there early to mill around, chat, and smoke cigarettes before it was time to go in. Joey Z and Nick L liked to hang out in Nicky’s souped up Firebird looking cool and scoping out the arrivals. Of particular interest were any new women that they might be able to impress with their “old timer” status and plethora of AA wisdom. It sure helped pique their interest if they were good looking to boot. Joey liked to ride Nicky’s coat tails because not only was he 15 years his junior, he was also a smooth talker and widely regarded by the ladies of the group as “God’s gift to the female species”. Nick LePage was a personal trainer with rock star looks, piercing blue eyes, ridiculous Abs, wavy shoulder length blond locks and the tan to go with it.
Just when it appeared to be another ho-hum meeting in terms of having any “newcomers” to impress, a familiar car turned left into the parking lot.
“Hey Joey”, said Nick, “Ain’t that your wannabe rock star pigeon Stevie pulling in? Looks like he’s got someone in the car with him.”
“Yup, that’s Stevie, fucking loser. Never seen her before though; damn, she’s fine!”
“She’s not fine Joey, she’s fucking HOT. Don’t even think about it old man, she’s mine”, grinned Nick.
“We only got ten minutes, let’s go say Hi”
They waited a minute or two for to for the new arrivals to join ranks with the pre-meeting social club, locked up Nicky’s ride and then strutted over to announce their arrival. Joey headed straight over to Stevie and greeted him exuberantly;
“Stevie my man, how’s my guitar slinging Rock Star doing?” Then in his most Bullshit humble and false caring voice, said,
“And who may I ask is your lovely friend?”
“Doing all right man, this is Sharon. She’s been thinking about coming for a while but didn’t want to come alone”.
Nick chimed in with his surfer dude charm, “Cool, so you’re one of us. Welcome! I’m Nick and
my buddy Joey over here has got 30 years! Been my sponsor for the last 10, so if
you have any questions or don’t know what’s up, he’s your guy!”
“Of course”, Joey added, you should pick one of the lovely ladies of the group to be
your sponsor when you’re ready.”
“Yup, girls with the girls and boys with the boys” Nick said with a creepy grin.”
“All righty then, we’ll see you guys inside” Joey nudged Nicky and they headed inside. On the way, Nicky
whispered to Joey,
“Oh yeah baby, gonna be adding that one to the notches on the headboard!”
“Joey burst out laughing as they headed inside”.
A minute later the rest of the outside clan started for the door as the meeting was about to commence. Sharon was feeling all kinds of tormented and wished she were anywhere other than here. Thing was, she wasn’t even an alcoholic. Sure she drank some but the reason she was here was to try and tame her ever growing hunger for Oxy’s. It all started innocently enough when she was prescribed the crap after back surgery gone bad. She tried one NA meeting but never even got inside because while talking to a few of the people there, she was offered everything from blow to heroin in the parking lot before the meeting even began. No way in Hell would she be able to say no to that crap every night. Anyway, she figured if all the guys were as cute as Stevie and that stud Nick, how bad could it be. Besides, Joey had been telling her all about how the meetings had really been helping him out. He’d been coming for about 6 months after the rest of the guys in the band threatened to boot him out if he didn’t get his shit together. It was bad enough when he was so drunk that he played like shit at gigs but the last straw was when he failed to show up for a recording session at Unicorn Recording Studios. I mean, they couldn’t really kick him out because
Stevie was the band. The reality was that they probably would have just dissolved the whole thingBefore the two them stepped inside, Stevie reminded her one more time;
“Don’t forget, when you raise your hand and introduce yourself, just say “Hi, Sharon, alcoholic””.
“Look, I know you’re not an alcoholic but if you want to be accepted, just go with it. They say it’s OK if your problem is drugs but most of them really don’t mean it. After a while you can start mentioning that you also have an issue with them but just play along, OK?”
“Yeah, all right, whatever. Let’s do it”
The meeting was held in the church’s basement in a large room used for various civic and religious outreach groups sponsored by Holy Trinity. The setup was arranged like you might find anywhere else. There was a small table up front with two chairs and the rest of the hall was aligned with rows of folding chairs. The
place was pretty full but the two of them managed to slide into an opening in the third of what was about 15 rows. She felt all of the 150 or so sets of eyes bearing down on her as she sat down. Sharon understood that she was extremely attractive and realized that it was human nature to check out the new person in any kind of a group, but this was somehow different. It wasn’t just the guys. It seemed like they were all measuring her like a bug under a microscope and sizing her up. A few people whose eyes she caught gave her a kind of knowing, condescendingly weird and sympathetic looking nod. Anyway, she turned her head to the front of the room as one of the two guys up front tapped his hand on the table a few times to get everyone’s attention.
“Good evening ladies and gentleman, welcome to the Saturday night “share the dream” open speaker’s
meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. My name is Mike, and I’m an alcoholic”
Pretty much everyone in the rows responded in unison, “Hi Mike".
Sharon had seen that in some movie or another so it didn’t freak her out too much. Next, they went around the entire room and everybody more or less introduced themselves the same way;
“My name’s Jim and I’m an alcoholic”,
“Steven, still the same fat assed alcoholic”,
which elicited unanimous guffaws and knee slaps. On and on until it reached her at which point she simply found herself mimicking the rest;
“Sharon, alcoholic” which was met by approving head bobs and knowing smiles. Then the guy next to her goes;
“Peter, grateful recovering alcoholic for 35 years by the grace of God, this program and you fine people.”
Years later she thought to herself that she would have to find Peter and thank him because his introduction gave her pause and a moment of clarity that would ultimately help save her from becoming just another deeply indoctrinated sheep. She thought to herself; “Wait a minute, what the fuck! This guy hasn’t had a drink in 35 years? What the Hell is he still doing here?It was all creepy enough but what really freaked her out was what happened after the introductions when Mike the moderator dude recited something called the Promises which went like this;
“If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are halfway
through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness
and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook on life will change. Fear of people and economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves."
At this point the lady, Sheila, who Mike asked to read the passage paused for a moment and then continued but in a considerably louder voice;
“Are these extravagant promises?”
At which point the entire, in what Sharon would later come to think of as the congregation, practically
screamed in unison;
“We think not!”
Holy shit! Sharon almost fell out of her chair. She looked over at Stevie and he kind of just shrugged his shoulders as if to say; “Yeah, a little weird but whatever." Then Sheila calmly but enthusiastically finished up with;
“They are being fulfilled among us - sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work forthem.”
Sharon’s mind was already numb at this point and didn’t really hear anything that the chick just said other than “God is doing….” and at that, she just shut down. She was an atheist for crying out loud. How the Hell was any of this supposed to work for her? She wanted to get up right then and there but out of decency to Stevie she decided to endure the rest of it. She’d let Stevie have it later. She also thought that maybe she was being a tad too judgmental and she should try to be open minded and give the rest of the meeting a chance. Mike thanked Sheila for reading and then introduced that night’s
"It is with great pleasure that I introduce to you, Jason. Not only has Jason been my sponsor for the last 16 years, but he’s getting ready to celebrate his 40th anniversary next week! He’s my friend, my mentor and he should be an inspiration to you all.”
This was of course received with more hooting and hollering from the AA faithful.
“Awe, shucks Mike; do they even make a coin for that?" More laughter from the crowd.
“I just want to share with you folks the experience, strength and hope, that as a result of this program and the people in these rooms, has enabled me to have a life second to none. But before I do, Mike asked me to do the other reading”
The whole thing was getting surreal and Sharon felt like she had been catapulted into another universe. Just when she thought it couldn’t get any more bizarre, Mike continued with;
“Without any further ado, I give you “How it works”"
“Rarely have we seen………