Add a T
My housemate R and I went shopping at a fancy market at the Gubei International Fortune Center. It’s a good store. It has things like Best Foods Mayonaise, and Blue Diamond Almonds, and Old El Paso refried beans. You know. Regular food. It also has a normal meat section (instead of random slices of dead beast stacked in room temperature bins).
I got myself some treats, cause, hell, why not? I got olives. 4 pints (or some dumb metric unit… it’s 300 ml, I just checked) of fresh squeezed grapefruit juice. A pint of Haggen Daz coffee ice cream for $16 US. Fuck it. Why not. I’d spend that on drinks in a heartbeat, right? Grabbed some bratwursts to fry up for dinner, and a couple of french rolls, along with a big box full of smaller boxes of milk, because all the good milk here is shelf milk, needing no refrigeration. Refrigerated milk isn’t safe to drink.
And I was feeling good.
We had walked to the market a decent distance, and hell no, I wasn’t walking back loaded down with all this crap, especially with the Yili Lu metro station right there in front of me. Anyhow, R wanted to walk back, so we parted, and off he went.
I paused to smoke a cigarette before going into the subway.
Gin and tonic.
You heard me. Gin and tonic. Hendricks, lime, tonic. Two of them should do it. Well, OK, three maybe. No one will know. Just do it quick. Do it now. Look, you’re going to these meetings and introducing yourself as a newcomer anyway. Go to the meeting tomorrow like nothing happened, introduce yourself as a newcomer as usual, no difference.
Deep breath. Think, think, think. What the fuck is going on? Where did that come from? Am I really going to do this?
Open the wallet to look at the STOP* sign, right next to the picture of my daughter.
Reach into my pocket. 30 day chip.** Squeeze it tight.
Walk into the subway. Get out at Shuicheng Lu station. Exit three. 4 minute walk to the front door. Go inside. Pull out the ice cream. Fuck, why do you have to be so damn frozen? Get the big kitchen knife. Angrily stab ice-cream until some chunks come loose. Eat chunks. Open pint of grapefruit juice. Drink it all.
OK… Ok… ok… o…
Exhale. Pour the rest of the coffee into the French press. Start the water.
R walks in. “Eric! You have to measure it! That’s what this scooper is for. You’re being wasteful!”
“Dude, I’ll tell you what. I’ll go out and buy my own personal bag of coffee, alright? Because I don’t want to fucking hear about it, I’m going to make my fucking coffee however the fuck I want, understand?”
“That’s fine, Eric. But if we’re going to share…”
“I said fine!”
Go outside to the patio to smoke a cigarette.
“Hold on there Eric, let me get clothes off the clothes line first.” (Because I get my panties in bunch every time I smell a whiff of tobacco.)
“Hey, R? Let’s cook our dinners separately tonight. I’m not ready to eat, and I’m guessing you are. Now I’m going into my room for a while.” Because you picked a really bad time to bitch at me about bullshit, and if I stay out here I’m going to say some shit I’ll regret.
And here I am in my room.
So what’s the deal with the title? I wasn’t hungry, angry, lonely, or tired when the devil attempted to hijack my brain outside the Yili Lu metro. What was I? Thirsty. I was thirsty as hell and really dehydrated. When I finally got home and peed, it was practically orange. They should add another T to HALT, for Thirsty. HALTT.
I know this is a long post with a lot of paragraph breaks, but I got something more to get off my chest, and I think it’s important. AA has involved itself in outside issues that divert it from it’s primary purpose. If those fucking thoughts I had outside the metro station had hit me a week ago, when I reset my sobriety date because “smoking weed ain’t sober,” I would have been toast. Absolutely toast. Shit. I gotta go in tomorrow and introduce myself as a day 1 newcomer? I might as well be an actual day 1 newcomer, right?
It’s fucking dangerous. You’re fucking with peoples’ lives here. Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed out path. Great. I’ll follow that path, and I won’t fail. But it sure as fuck doesn’t help when sober people are making shit up that and calling that the path, when there is no mention of any such thing anywhere in the Big Book. You want to tell me I’m not 73 days sober? You better be in NA, because according to that path, you’d be right. But I’m a fucking alcoholic. And I haven’t had a drop of alcohol in 73 fucking days. And if you are serious yourself about following the path, you better get your head screwed on straight and remember that you don’t get to say what the fuck that path is. I’ve got 14 pages that describe the path quite precisely. It’s called chapter motherfucking 5, How It Works. Funny how I don’t see “reset your sobriety date if you smoke weed” anywhere on any of those 14 pages. You want to tell me I have 8 or 9 days sober or whatever? Fine. Go tell it to an NA meeting. Otherwise you can go fuck yourself, cause if Bill W. didn’t reset his sobriety date when he dropped acid, I sure as hell don’t need to reset mine cause I smoked weed those first couple of months. I’m just glad that what occurred to me today didn’t occur to me sooner.
You don’t like this? What the fuck is this newcomer doing ranting here? And he seemed like such a nice guy yesterday! (I warned you I was an asshole.)
Read the tradition 3 long form, read tradition 5. Fercrissakes, read the first fucking step!
Hello, my name is Eric, and I am an ALCOHOLic, who is in ALCOHOLics Anonymous, because he wants desperately to get and remain SOBER (not intoxicated by alcohol), and is willing to thoroughly follow the path laid out in the Big Book of ALCOHOLics Anoymous, a group whose primary message is carry the message of the Big Book to ALCOHOLics who still suffer.
Breathe. It works. I’m still sober. I’m 73 days sober. No doubt I’ve alienated everyone now who reads this. And that sucks, because I want y’all to like me. For all I know, after this rant, I may be looking for a new sponsor. K’s pretty chill, but I don’t know if he wants to deal with all this crap. Regardless, I’m going to the 7AM meeting tomorrow morning. God knows I need it. And just maybe this pissy mood will have passed. Maybe I’ll even introduce myself as a newcomer tomorrow, with 9 or 10 days sober, or whatever it is. We’ll see.
But there is one thing I know for sure. I ain’t drinking tonight. That moment of truth already came and went. I passed the test. And I’m pissed off anyways, or maybe because of it, I don’t know. I’m mad! I can’t drink and I’m mad about it, OK?!
*This woman at my homegroup gave me a little paper stop sign maybe 2 weeks in, or so. “Put it in your wallet,” she said. Thanks, woman with British accent whose name I don’t remember. That helped.
**It was in my pocket. It had been in my wallet behind my driver’s license for the last 30+ days, every since I got my 60 day chip.*** I noticed it peeking out last night, and stuck it in my jacket pocket. When I got home from work stuff today, I changed jackets for some reason before walking to the store. Then, there at the subway entrance, I reached into my pocket and it was there, and I held it in my hand all the way home, to remind myself that I had 73 days of momentum I didn’t want to ruin.
***I gave my 60 day chip to my wife before I left for China. Don’t regret that one bit. The 30 worked just as well for me today. If**** I’m allowed to get any more chips, I’ll keep the 6 month, give her the 9 month, and cling to that 1 year metal circle like it’s pure gold.
****Thoroughly following the path means rigorous honesty, and that means admitting it if I smoke pot. So there’s no way to get those chips if the group conscious decides my alcohol-free time doesn’t count as sober. Seriously? AA folk need to think long and hard about this whole “primary purpose” thing, and probably take a big collective step back from the hardline NA shit, and remember what that first A stands for.