So I can sit next to you, right?
Yes. There's no Nar-Anon.
Can I draw?
I don't care. You want me to go? You're sure it's better if I sit with you?
So we went to our first NA meeting. It's not his first, as he's been to a few before, both state-mandated and wife-mandated. This was the first meeting, however, that wasn't "required." It was requested, again and again and again, and spoken of as my number one favorite wish in the whole world...but it was his thing.
We got to the church, and he disappeared into the bathroom, but that's ok, because I'm good at being at meetings now. People were sort of walking around and looking sheepish. I sort of walked around and looked sheepish.
I recognized a few folks from the NA meeting in conjunction with my Nar Anon meetings. That made me happy.
He came and sat down next to me. We were early, or course, because I was in charge of driving us there, and so he pulled his hat way down over his eyes and drew a dragon. I looked around at everyone and smiled, sheepishly. He had this piece of paper in a plastic cover in his hands. He handed it to me.
"I think it's time to start this meeting!" shouted the leader. She was a sort of butchy looking pretty woman with a pony tail and a man's shirt on. She was loud and boisterous and excited. People were coming in and going out and talking and phones were ringing and babies were crying and folks were flapping fans. It was hot. Folks started reading things off of pieces of paper in plastic covers. I realized that he'd handed me the twelve steps, and I'd be reading.
But that's ok, because I'm real good at reading, and I like the 12 steps. I read them passionately. I'd have to say that I was, by far, the best reader there. That's what a Master's Degree in poetry gets you...you can read the 12 steps with a certain verve and ardor in your intonation. Best $24,000 I ever spent.
So after the readings, some folks went off for "Just For Today" meditation. I don't know what that means. People were coming in and out, in and out. It was hard to hear. I was smiling because I was sitting next to him in a meeting. His knee kept pressing into mine. He was drawing and drawing that dragon. The rest of us stayed for an open discussion on the first three steps, and the topic the leader chose to focus on was step 2.
It was really good. About 10 people did all the talking, and everyone else sat, either head in hands in pain, nodding their heads knowingly, or absent-mindedly staring off. It had been hard to hear before, but during the part where people were sharing their experiences, it became very clear and vivid. Except, people were getting up and sitting down and pushing chairs around and coming in and out of the door...it made me think of herding cats. It also made me think of my own, orderly, responsible, nerdy meetings. It made me think that they needed us to come organize their meetings for them...make them all sit quietly and wait their turns to talk and talk when it's their turn and read nicely and do right. It made me laugh at myself for allowing myself to think it.
Crazy addicts. Crazy codependent.
Everyone who spoke focused on that "sanity" word.
"Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity," is the text, for those of you not in the know. Most people talked about how when they aren't working to recover, aren't coming to meetings, aren't actively trying to get better, they are insane. They do and think and act insane. Two people referred to themselves as "Greasy-ass addicts." One of them even called himself, "a greasy-ass porkchop addict. A dope fiend."
It was fitting, as meetings always are, with the things going on in our lives. We've been talking a lot lately about doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results.
He'd stopped drawing by the time people were talking. The dragon lay in his lap, half-formed. He even looked up from underneath his hat a few times to look in the speakers' faces. He didn't go get any chips. Instead, he sat next to me and looked sheepish. I wanted to be mad, but then I realized that all I'd accomplish is that I'd be mad.
Overall, it was hope-filled and promising. We're going to go to an AA meeting next Tuesday evening...I'm going to sit next to him.