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The Road Narrows

The Road Narrows

The meeting rooms were filled with great wisdom....and sometimes not great wisdom. Ultimately, you had to kind of pick and choose what worked for you. My sponsor at the time, (New real friend #1) had great insights as well. He would often say “If your ass falls off, pick it up and bring it to a meeting”....I think that was his version of don’t drink and get help. He also talked a lot about the transition from not-drinking to getting sober....You start off on a 5 lane super highway bouncing off either side of the rails trying to figure out the right things to do. Eventually, your road narrows and you crash into the walls less.


By year five, I had a pretty good life.


My oldest and closest friend was now 2 years sober and we bought a house near downtown Atlanta – hoping to make our fortunes in the booming Atlanta housing market. We hooked up with some old friends from high school and formed a flag football team that played Tuesday nights....On Thursday nights we played team trivia with another group of friends.


Work was going well....I had moved from Account Management to Sales and was having some small successes. I started to take on some marketing functions to help support the other two sales guys. The product line that I worked for was starting to make real traction and was growing fast. It was very exciting to be a part of.


I bought a new car....and all of the doors opened.


I was bored with running and decided to run a very short triathlon.


I began to develop close relationships to a lot of folks at the 5:45 meeting....and we all spent a lot of time together in and out of the meetings. We were a bunch of weirdly awkward late twenty / early thirty somethings trying to figure out who we were....and who we wanted to be.


The meeting rooms are great place to figure out who you want to be....they are filled, with out question, by the most accepting group of non-judgmental people you will probably ever meet. I could show up in a dress and heels one day....most people wouldn’t even bat an eye....”you’re in the right place” they would say. You could raise your hand and share that....”I just smoked crack, shot up a bank, fell asleep in the taco bell drive-thru and peed on myself”....guaranteed that the next person to raise their hand would say.....”I did that once.” No matter how outrageous a scenario you could ever imagine....if it was shared sincerely....if it was was generally met with a “thanks for sharing.”


I once heard a guy (who might have been drunk) share in a meeting....screamed really.... that he thought everyone in the meeting sucked....he thought the meeting sucked....the whole program was for shit....he was pissed at himself for even being there. The meeting leader let him go on for a while....but finally stopped and asked him “then why are you here?” he responded somewhat sheepishly....”I’m an alcoholic and I’m having trouble making friends”.....he went to dinner with a handful folks that night.


I wasn’t a flip flop guy ....but became one by wearing them to meetings until I was comfortable enough to wear them in public. The meeting rooms were my testing ground for developing who Joel was....from fashion to personality.


Though....often times my choices were met with a group consensus of “keep coming back”.... the general phrase used to insinuate that you might have missed the mark....and need some more “help.”


My roads were starting to narrow and I was crashing into the walls a lot less. I quit smoking in year 5 and have not had a cigarette since.


Flag football team – I’m in. Let’s go long. Let’s run the conversion play....its money. Callahan killed it that championship game. I love you guys.


Short Jay – Thanks for your friendship and the dates on NY Eve. That sounds worse than it is. I love you.


Tall Jay – I love you brother. Couldn’t have done it without you. Wouldn’t have wanted to do it without you. Big Papa Pump is in the house. I love you.


Angry Mike – I’m sorry if you get angry about that....but you were a little upset when you came in. Pick a winner....always cracked me up. I love you.


Gregory – I don’t care how long you’ve been can’t put your finger there. I love you....but not like that.


Jessie – You cam very close to convincing me into becoming a lesbian that year. I love you.


Zo / LC– Good times. I miss you. I love you.


Da – Love you.


Golf Cart Jeff....Here comes Jeff....beep, beep, beep. Love you.


Stay Tuned....or Don't

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