A regular post regarding "recovery" (don't really like the term but haven't figured out a better word for it yet!) will appear shortly. Jill and I were shopping the other day and we were in one of those sections that have a million "inspirational" plaques and whatnot and I saw one that I liked and will do a 3 parter based on that. "Heal the past, live the present, dream the future". All stuff that I've covered before but I can't emphasize enough how important understanding and embracing the elements of time is to overcoming dependencies and just life in general. So look out for that in a day or two.
In the meantime, I present to you the tentative first chapter of "The Rooooomz".
September 1st, 2001 (Manorhaven, NY
It was always about the music. Ever since Uncle Frank moved into the basement of the house to help take care of his dying mom and brought with him his guitars and his albums, it became the medium that
would define his life. Although Frankie had long since moved on, the basement which was now a makeshift recording studio, was where it all still happened and where all the memories were stored. It was the place where his uncle first turned him onto the magic of the electric guitar. When he threw Hendrix’s War
Heroes on the turn table and played “Midnight”, it was game over! From that moment on, Steven “Stevie” McGrath, knew that the six string would define his life. This was back in the late fall of 72 and Stevie had just turned 11.
Unfortunately, that very same basement would hold all kinds of other memories. Memories which he had tried to suppress for years in an alcohol and drug induced “purple haze”.Even though the space was
tainted with the secrets of past horrors, it was still Stevie’s refuge, the place where he felt most alive. It was for that reason that he insisted that he and his sponsor, Joey Z, do his 5thstep in that very space.
Although the house now belonged to him and his older brother, Zack, Stevie still spent 90% of his time down there as opposed to one of the large and modern bedrooms upstairs on the 2nd floor. When you went down the cellar steps you felt like you were traveling back in time. There were posters circa early 70’s of his idols, Hendrix, Clapton, Page, etc…; tapestries hanging from the ceilings, incense holders, the whole
nine. Guitars were everywhere along with a drum set, keyboards and recording equipment to capture any impromptu jam session for eternity. An old beat up couch which was surrounded by bean bags was where more nights than not, Stevie fell asleep with one guitar or another resting in his lap.
Joey Z was 55, 15 years older than Stevie and his musical tastes stopped evolving with Elvis. He never got the whole hippie Woodstock thing and thought of that whole era as freak show and a disgrace. So when he walked down the basement stairs and made the turn into Stevie’s “Love Lair” as he later termed it, he just shook his head in disgust.
He did a whole panoramic appraisal of the room and being one who never held back and rarely had anything positive to say anyway, simply turned to Stevie and said,
“What the Fuck is this?”
Stevie didn’t say anything and just shrugged.
“Anybody enlighten you yet to the fact that we’re in the 21st CENTURY? No wonder you
were all fucked up. Don’t you worry though; we’ll get you back to reality. The purging of your character defects today will go a long way towards that and maybe you can leave some of this crap behind!”
“This crap,”Stevie said, “is my Fucking life!”
“Yeah well, we see how well that’s been working for you, right?”
Stevie had to remind himself why he ever picked the Z to be his sponsor in the first place. It had something to do with all the people that he met telling him that he needed someone with “a lot of time”; somebody tough who knew what it meant to “work the program”, whatever the Hell that meant. Joey never tired of telling “his story” of how he got sober the day he walked into the rooms almost 15 years ago.
“July 4th, 1976, the bicentennial baby! The greatest country in the world’s birthday and
the day that Joey Z was reborn! you bet your ASS!”
He really WAS an ASS but Stevie figured that if he was going to make this thing work, then that was probably exactly what he needed.
The more he thought about it, he didn’t really pick Joey as much as Joey chose him. It’s kind of an unwritten law in AA that “newbies” had to ask to be sponsored. It showed their commitment to the program; that they really wanted what everybody else had. That’s not to say, however, that certain people didn’t try to lure newcomers into picking them to be their sponsor. Joey was that kind of guy. He already had four sponsee’s whose lives he was directing. He was an egomaniac who thrived on power and telling people what to do.
Mercifully they were getting close to finishing Stevie’s 5th Step (confession).
“You’ve done a pretty good job with your moral inventory (4th step) Stevie, but I notice that you kind of tap danced around your most glaring character defect.”
“Really, what might that have been?”Stevie said, “I thought I did a pretty damn good job of
listing all of my glaring faults and listing all the horrible shit I did!”
“Ah, indeed you did! You filled out all of the worksheets as I explained them to you following
my example and uncovered a lot. You have owned up to a lot of your faults and character defects. You did a fine job on the Resentments, Fears, and People we have harmed lists, however, I see you are trying to evade responsibility on your Sexual Conduct worksheet”
Stevie felt a knot in his stomach as this was NOT something he wanted to revisit with Joey or anybody else for that matter and tried to change the subject.
“Look, it was horror show, I told you as much about it as I’m going to, can’t we just move on and
wrap this up. I’m fucking toast and I feel like shit already!”
“That’s OK Stevie”, Joey said, “This process usually leaves you feeling a little deflated at first
but You’ll see over time that taking responsibility and admitting your faults and moral weaknesses will strengthen you in the end.”
“Ok, the thing with your Uncle Frank……you left out the part that demands that you to explain your PART in it. Where were you to blame?”
Stevie lost it right then and there.
“MY PART IN IT?!!! WHERE WAS I TO BLAME?!!!.... He fucking RAPED ME!!!!!,” Stevie screamed, “GET
OUT, GET OUT NOW BEFORE I TAKE THIS GUITAR AND SMASH IT UPSIDE YOUR SKULL!!!!!!!”
(Sands Point, NY)
BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP………
“No F’n way”, Chris thought to himself as he rolled over and slapped the damn snooze button. Exactly
6 minutes later the unmerciful clock/radio began round two of its demanding ritual. Again the hand came around and silenced the uncaring and unsympathetic piece of plastic.
“Get your ass up now Christopher Adams!”snarled Julie from the opposite side of their king sized bed.
“I feel like shit baby, think I’m going to call in or just go in later.”
“The HELL you are! Just because you were out until 2AM supposedly schmoozing your client base does
NOT give you a free pass to blow off going in on time. Damn you reek; you smell like a Scotch factory! Your drinking is getting out of hand Chris, you might seriously want to consider doing something about it. It’s getting REAL old”
Chris just moaned, turned off the snooze button and shuffled off to the Master Bath.
Somehow Chris managed to transform himself from a severely hung over creature into looking like that
of just another one of the minions of Wall Street commuters and managed to get to the train station at 6:40AM. Plenty of time to take a nice morning slug from the quart bottle of Absolut that he kept tucked underneath the passenger seat. Vodka had become his go to choice to take the edge off because like so many other misguided and ignorant fools, he didn’t think anybody could smell it. He couldn’t quite remember when that bottle became a permanent fixture under the seat; it had been a while. It was becoming
increasingly laborious to remember to hide it in his bag of golf clubs in the trunk on the weekends.
The 6:45 Express made only 3 stops and then went straight through to Penn Station from Great Neck in a
very convenient 39 minutes. From there he had plenty of time to take the 2 or 3 down to Wall Street. On most mornings, a stop at Betty’s Bakery on Broadway for a large black coffee and a blueberry Danish was the usual modus operandi. This was not most mornings! Apparently his “hair of the dog” slug of vodka wasn’t cutting it and his head still felt like somebody was pounding on it with a sledge hammer. Only one cure for that; so Chris bypassed Betty’s and instead walked into O’Shaunessy’s Beer & Ale House.
“Ah, Mr. Adams, a wee bit early for lunch aren’t we?” said Sean Kelly behind the bar.
“Haha,” Chris said, “Shut up Sean and get me LARGE Bloody Mary would ya? My head is F’n killing
At 9:15 Chris’s cell phone rang and he saw that it was the office calling. He let it go to voicemail figuring he’d be there in a few minutes anyway. 2 minutes later it rang again so grudgingly he took the call.
“Chris, where are you?!!!”
It was Sandy, Chris’s secretary, paralegal and ass-saver extraordinaire.
“Hey Sandy, I got the 8:25, I should be there in like ten minutes. What’s up?
“What’s up is the fact that you had an 8:30 appointment with Mrs. Elaine Sinclair and you weren’t here!
That’s what’s up. “
“Oh shit,” grimaced Chris.
“Oh SHIT is right Christopher! By 8:45 she was having a hissy fit and threatening to pull her entire portfolio away from the firm. I tried calming her down but she was having none of it. You really did it this time Chris; Mathers himself had to come down from 24 to intercede.”
“Fuck, fuck, fuck……is she still there?”
“I don’t know, he buzzed me two minutes ago and told me to, in his words, send his sorry ass up
here the second he walks in the door.”