I have just found someone on Facebook that I knew from my childhood days at Christ the King School in Pleasant Hill.
Kitty was one of my closest friends - a part of an entire group of us who celebrated birthdays together, went to Mass and got our First Holy Communion at the same time.
So, why am I so shaky about all this?
I'll tell you why - I am an alcoholic....and we have one thing that can be both our saving grace and our undoing...we have LOOOOOONNNNNGGGGGG memories.
The problem, however, is that our memories are skewed.
When I was six months sober, I finally related to another member of AA and my whole life changed. What changed, for me, was that I suddenly realized that the way I was feeling after not having had a drink or drug for 6 months was the same way I felt for the first seventeen years of my life. I was scared, overly sensitive and convinced that at any moment someone was going to stand up during a meeting, point at me and say, "YOU! You are NOT wearing the right shoes. Your hair is the wrong color and you are fat. Now, get out."
That is not necessarily the TRUTH of what my first 17 years of life were like on the planet, but it was how I remember feeling. And what I remember about being a kid at Christ the King is this:
1. no one liked me
2. I was too loud
3. I was ugly
4. I was the only kid in the class with divorced parents
5. I was so scared, all the time.
Only two of those statements are absolutely, objectively TRUTH. The rest is my perception, the way I felt about myself that changed forever when I got drunk for the first time. Suddenly, with a magic swallow of foul tasting liquid, I was tall enough, thin enough, blond enough and smart enough. Alcohol did for me what I cannot do for myself and I was not going to give that up...until it left me alone, 300 pounds, sitting in a walk-in closet, smoking cocaine and drinking out of a gallon jug of cheap vodka.
Here is what is so funny about being an alcoholic - when I saw Kitty and Bonnie and Jeannie on Facebook I fully expected them to say, "YOU! You were NEVER our friend...get out...".
Well, of course that didn't happen because they don't think like I do. That's cool. In fact, that is better for the average person - no one should be sentenced to the jail cell that can be my head.
I remember that Kitty had the best hair in the class and it was a defining moment for me when I realized my hair would never curl like her hair could curl.
Because of AA, and 17 years of sponsorship that constantly points me to the thought of, "What is your part in all of this, you goof ball?" I can almost laugh about the fear I feel about emailing old friends from grammar school. I can go to my home group (like I did tonight) and admit at group level that step six is where I need to be right this minute. This overwhelming urge to email them all and say, "Do you all like me now?" is something that comes from the fear that of myself and by myself I am just not enough.
Here is what I know - of myself and by myself I am a commode hugging drunk. Because of the 12 steps of AA and a relationship with a God of my understanding that is second to none, I know that I matter. God cares about every little aspect of me....how I feel, what I do, where I go, what language I use, how I dress....HE LOVES ME. He wants the best for me....He has given me a Church and Sacraments to help me get what is best for me - which is, of course, eternity in Heaven with HIM.
Tonight I got to give a 4 year chip to a sponsee and watch a grandsponsee pick up a one year chip. Tonight I get to drive into work and be of service to the community and to those I supervise. Tonight I get to smile and know that I am pretty, I am smart, and I matter.....OK, so I am still fat and I wish my boobs did not hit my waist but your know what?
Today I am a woman of grace and dignity.....I walk with Light...and that's a big improvement over sitting in a closet, drinking vodka and smoking cocaine.
Thank you, Lord, for my life today...exactly as it is...I would not change a thing, even though I can with just one sip of alcohol.