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Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Good Life

  • inspired by the song "Already Gone" by The Eagles
Working for Wells Fargo Bank as a customer service technician, the days were full of doldrums and the monotony was strikingly apparent.  As a college graduate who was also a recovering alcoholic, job opportunities were rare.  After being hired and then fired from at least a few jobs since college, the lethargy's of a customer technician job paid the bills, but lacked excitement. 

Every morning he awoke early; he had to be at work thirty minutes away home at 9:00 a.m.  He had been free from the constraints of his illness for the past year, but it was still very difficult to gather the strength and ambition to get out of bed.  The complications of life left him with little recourse but to get by with the bare necessities.  He had not had a drink in over a year; however every morning still necessitated a warm pot of coffee and a morning full of chain smoking.

In the later years of the dire times of alcoholism, life held with it no hope.  Instead, all it held with it was the longing for his next drink.  While he was able to work, the thought that consumed him all day was the five o’clock hour and hitting the bar for another night of heavy drinking. 

He tried Alcoholics Anonymous to cure him of his disease, but willpower was not his constraint; it was the lack of desire to quit.  The misery that coexisted with his alcoholism had almost become comforting after many years.  The thought of a life without alcohol did not appeal to him.  He had no desire for friendship with a host of sober friends that would have been available.  He had no desire for a relationship which would have been possible with a life without alcohol.  Much less, he had no desire for a family and for children that were the standards of most of his long lost friends from college.

He had been sober now for over a year.  He was amazed by his clarity of thought, emotions, and intentions.  Last night he found the will to leave his small, one-room apartment to take part in a social opportunity outside the working world.  There was an AA sponsored karaoke coffee shop on the other side of town.  He had heard about it, he could not remember from where.  It was frequented by many recovering alcoholics and recovering drug addicts.  The patrons shared in coffee, cigarettes, and in the freedom from their habits and constraints of their past.  The social gathering had the niceties of a coffee shop including board games and billiards tables as well as coffee. 

The song played in the background, So many times it happens, we live our lives in chains and never even realize we hold the key.  It was a break from the singing of the patrons.  The set-up of the venue especially welcomed the host of customers who were searching to come to terms with their mistakes of the past.  In addition to a host of coffee drinks, they served pastries and desserts.

He sat at the bar and ordered a warm cup of coffee.  He enjoyed the music in the background and he enjoyed the cigarette that he had just lit.  He surveyed the room.  The patrons seemed to be mostly in their thirties.  He felt a bit young in the crowd; as he was in his late twenties.  He marveled at how in-tuned to reality and to the atmosphere he was becoming.

He made eye contact from across the room with one of the female patrons.  She seemed to be a little bit rundown from her own years of drinking and drug use.  Yet, she was still very attractive in a hard, yet sophisticated manner.  The DJ still played in the background.  He had come here tonight not looking for any sort of relationship; long-term or short.  However, her gaze was forthright and honest so he decided it might be appropriate to approach her in a casual manner and ask her to dance.

Upon walking across the room she almost demurely accepted the dance. 

As they danced she discussed her many years of alcoholism which were parallel to his.  Neither was very comfortable on the dance floor, but they were enjoying each other’s company so they made their way back to the bar where he lit a her cigarette.

It was a life which could be much more fully appreciated than that of an alcoholic.  After a year of sobriety he was able to get out of his apartment and enjoy a sober venue which was far more enjoyable than the morbid alcoholism he had experienced for most of his adult life.

After two years, the craving for alcohol had almost disappeared.  After some time after that he was finally able to enjoy life again. 

It had now been over ten years since his last drink.  He had made his way up the corporate ladder at Wells Fargo and he now prized a more than respectable income among the higher echelons.  He loved and cherished his wife and his two children.  The excitement and enjoyment he got out of every day of a life of sobriety far surpassed the alcoholic prison of his own making of the past.

With love and companionship after the many years of an alcoholic haze he came to realize that life is what we make it to be.  It can be cherished if we so choose and it can be dreaded if we so choose.    

Holidays came and past that were spent in the conviviality of his family as did birthdays and other familiar events.  Every morning was a tribute that all that is decent and good.  The splendor of a life well-lived was now enjoyed completely.

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