Tuesday, April 7, 2015

F is for Fellowship

 Scenes from an American Diner: A Story in 26 Parts
All of us have had our lives touched in some way by the disease of addiction.  Be it a loved one, friend, family member or even ourselves no one is immune to the impact of this devastating illness.  This story is dedicated to all of those people, especially the ones who have found recovery through the 12 step fellowship.

"I get that," Greg said, his eyes showing that same far-off gaze that had been going around the faces of the table as they talked.

The men turned their heads to listen, knowing more was to come.

"I wasn't there for my boys, either.  Not for them, not for their mom, not for nobody.  The only time I showed up was to sleep, shower and grab some more money so I could be off rippin' an runnin' again."  Greg paused, took a sip of coffee with a loud slurp, and resumed.  "Adele, she tried to get me to stop.  She'd drag me to church and they'd be all prayin' for me and shit.  She'd hide the money and try to lock everything up so I couldn't steal nothin'."

"Yeah, my parents did the same thing," Scott added, grateful for the common ground.

"But you know how it is.  We always find a way."

"So did you ever try to make amends?" Scott asked, a slightly hopeful sound in his voice.

"Not at first," Greg said, a slight grimace coming over his face.  "I was too busy relapsing for a long time to do anything more than make promises I wasn't keepin'.  You know how we do- you feel a little better and you think you can take on the world.  All that pink cloud shit."

"Pink cloud?" Scott asked, looking around at the other men whose expressions showed no surprise at the term.

"It's how we describe that warm, fuzzy feeling in early recovery," Stew answered.  "You know you get out of rehab and you feel a little better, physically.  You get some money in the bank cause you're not spending it all on dope, you can look people in the eye because you're not lying to them.  Stuff like that."

"And then, life comes along and throws some shit at you that you weren't prepared for and you tell yourself you can't do it.  Ain't no way you gettin' through whatever it is without using, so you do," Greg said, anger creeping into his voice.  The white hairs sprouting from his temples stood out as his brow furrowed at the memories.  "Then  people start gettin' angry.  Adele'd be throwin' me out, Jaylen- that's my oldest- he stopped talkin' to me, stopped believin' when I said I'd be goin' to his ball games.  I think he told Darnell and Elijah I wouldn't be comin' to they birthday parties so they'd stop bein' surprised when I didn't show up.  After that, people stop comin' to see you when you end up in rehab again.  You gotta do it on your own," Greg said, concluding what was, like all of theirs, a much longer story.

"Shit," Scott said, that fear coming over his face again.

"That's how it works, though," Ted said, bumping his shoulder up against the boy in a consolatory manner.  "Whether you got people on your side or not it's always you doing it on your own."

"Well, not entirely on your own," Stew said with a chastising grin.  "You do it with the fellowship."

"Cause ain't nobody else gonna understand your sorry ass like a bunch of other sorry asses," Greg laughed, suddenly joking and friendly again.  It was as if something had passed through him en route to somewhere else.  Something that wasn't his normal self.

Scott for his part didn't entirely know what to make of it and his puzzled expression let the others know it.

"The serious talking- that's not easy.  Hell, that's half the reason I drank- so I wouldn't have to do the serious talking.  Shootin' the breeze and telling jokes- that's what we all want to be doing," Stew said, deciphering it all for the young one.

"So I get to the meetings so I can do both, with a bunch of other scew-ups like me.  And not be judged and not be saved- just be understood," Greg concluded.

"There's always a method to the madness," Ted smiled.


  1. These passages are very skillfully written. Interesting about the "pink cloud' early recovery experience.


  2. Luckily I have never met anyone with an addiction.

  3. What a great excerpt. I really enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I really liked that line "not be judged and not be saved- just be understood." I like the way your endearing me to these characters through their vulnerability and banter.

  5. A powerful vignette. Thank you.
    How I wish my alcoholic mama could have found the help and support she needed. She didn't. She failed. We failed. And more than ten years after her death it still hurts.

  6. I hope they all get through it together.

  7. I say that same line to myself when it comes to food, "I'm not getting through it without giving in a little and eating." I lost over 60 pounds a year and a half ago and it's a real struggle to not "eat" stress. Staying healthy can be a hard road for anyone, so a scene like this speaks to a lot of us.

  8. Addiction of any kind stinks. It does seem they always find a way.

    Scribbles From Jenn - Visiting from the A to Z Challenge

  9. Strong passage... Welcome in the letter "F"... thank you!
    Jeremy [Retro]
    AtoZ Challenge Co-Host [2015]

    There's no earthly way of knowing.
    Which direction we are going!

    Come Visit: You know you want to know if me or Hollywood... is Nuts?


Thank you for your comment! I will love it and hug it and pet it and call it George. Or, you know, just read and reply to it. But still- you rock!