Scenes from an American Diner: A Story in 26 Parts
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.
"What do you mean? I thought serenity was, like, happiness," Jim asked.
Stew sighed. If he had realized he was starting a theoretical argument he wouldn't have said anything. Better to just let it flow, he figured.
"Not exactly. Serenity isn't the absence of chaos but rather one's own stillness in the presence of chaos." He was met by a table full of blank stares, even from Jared, which disturbed him as he was expecting him to chip in. But he persevered. "It's like, we say life on life's terms, right?" This time he got some head nods. "That's because we realize that shit's gonna happen no matter how well or not well we may be doing in our recovery and we're gonna have to deal with it."
"Right," Ted offered.
"So this is the same general idea- stuff's gonna happen. Good, bad, ugly and in-between. And it's how we respond to that stuff happening that's makes or breaks our recovery. So serenity is just being calm despite whatever may be going on. So you not freaking out in the midst of all this stuff happening is, by very definition, serenity," he concluded, and let out a breath. It's had taken more mental energy than he thought he had to get that out and now he was spent.
"Huh," Ted said, looking out into nothing the way he often did. "I never really thought about it that way."
"Yeah, I always thought that it... almost like a place, you know? Like a state of being you reached after- I don't know- communing with god or something," Jim said.
"Not really. It's more like... like the opposite of a trigger almost- you wait it out and it will pass. But instead of wanting it to pass you wish you could hold onto it."
"So this isn't how i'm gonna handle everything from now on?" Ted asked, deflated.
"Nope, 'fraid not. Give it a minute and you'll start freaking out about something else," Stew smiled at him.
"Damn," Ted said, snapping his fingers in 'aw, shucks' manner.
"Don't get too caught up in it, though- you do what you gotta do and it'll come back."
"And what's that?"
"You know, stay sober, keep working the steps, talk to your son."
"Knew you were gonna say that," Ted said, sounding tired again.
"And just like that, it's gone," Stew teased.
The table went quiet again as the men waited for the waitress that never seemed to come, or for the hour to arrive when they could head to the clubhouse for the first meeting of the day.