Sunday Sundries … “The Ugly Light”

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Right now we are sitting at (-7c). Made only more bitter with the wind blowing. It got very chilly last night, into today. And I had to layer, to go out.

It’s freaking April for God’s sake.

It has been a quiet weekend. Our regular Saturday night fare, is a hit or miss meeting as of late. And the cast of characters who show up, are what one would call, “eclectic.” I’m not sure where these folks are coming from, after last night’s meeting, we were all shaking our heads.

We started another month in the “Solution Based” program of material. The pool is limited to draw on, when it comes to folks who have done The Work, and have read The Book, and can speak to that experience.

We did not have a choice, but to put a guy in the chair, who is sober a while, but he hasn’t done any of The Work. Our membership in the group is small, and instead of repeating the same faces, we are rotating folks into the chair, who have some time, at least.

We read from Living Sober, and “Avoiding the First Drink.”

It always started with one. But never, Just One. More always followed. I remarked tonight, that my grandparents, (Read: Grandfathers) drank from bottles, not glasses. Always the bottle directly. My father and mother, drank from Cans and Glasses. We had a beer fridge in the garage to make sure that cold beer was always on offer, whenever.

The concept of “More” was readily apparent. Nobody I knew, then, ever was satisfied with the One, there was always MORE.

Two stories come to mind, as I was reading and listening tonight.

In The U.S., high school students usually take S.A.T.’s, Standard Aptitude Tests. These test scores were important because with those scores, you knew how good you were to get into college. In the U.S. it is MUCH harder to get into a good school, than it is here.

In my 12 th year, the school board thought it good to have us test, THREE times, instead of just the once. I did the first two tests, without complaint. But when the last one came around, I was like, Hell No !

My friends and I had a drinking party the night before the test, the next day. And it was a binge and purge kind of party. As was always the case, in for a penny, in for a pound. When all was said and done, my friend drove me home, comatose, and brain dead. My mother looked at me and said nothing.

NOTHING … There was no problem to be solved…

The next morning I went to school, severely hung over. It was a good thing that my test site was the library, which was in the science wing. The bathrooms were just down the hall. That was a very good thing. I didn’t have to go very far.

Each section is timed. And as I remember it, as each section began, I would start the test, but have to stop, run to the bathroom, toss a few, and then come back and rush my way through to the end. That went on for the entire test.

In the end I actually did twenty points better than my previous scores.

Sadly, University was NOT in the cards for me. My parents were loath to pay for my education, and I had not the funds to do it either. However, I did get a minuscule scholarship to attend junior college after graduation.

That did not go very far. The year after I ended up in Seminary. But that ended badly as well.

The concept of just one, or it starts with one was not in my lexicon of understanding. It started with ONE, but never stayed there, MORE always followed. When a professional tells you that “you should go to the bar, and have a drink, no not just one drink, but two, because two will get you results.” I took that advice.

It began with ONE, but MORE always followed.

You know you are well fried, when you are sitting at the bar, (read: Parliament House Disco Bar and Retention Pond/Pool) and TWO a.m. is upon you. Everyone else, who is sane and smart, have coupled and gone home already, where ever home is on any given night. But YOU are sitting at the bar, nursing your 10th or 11th drink, as they are cleaning up around you, and stacking the stools on the bar, and they have turned THE UGLY LIGHTS ON …

You know, that UGLY light. Even drunk, one is deathly pretty.

And the sloppy seconds and thirds are waiting to be scored because all the good ones have been taken already. I don’t remember how many times, I have been sitting at the bar with the ugly light on, and bartenders telling us that IT IS TIME TO GO HOME …


One good spot in that drinking story was Charlie. Charlie was a seasonal at the Tragic Queendom. We dated for a season, and that was good. This was the Bottle or Blender period of my life. The phone would ring, and I would get that question …

Bottle or Blender.

I knew it was Strawberry Daiquiri’s and Mary Poppins, and the eventual happy ending.

What else do twenty year old’s do to have fun? Drink, do Drugs, get Drunk and High and Fall down. Because that was always the end result, that lasted well into my thirties.

I knew I could not drink every day. And never just one, because MORE always followed.

Any good binge(r) knew that one was too many, and twenty were never enough.

In the end it only took me three or four.

But when I was done, I was done. It always started with one. But we learn, in the rooms, that if we avoid the first one, we are not going to get drunk.

Only two occasions, in my first year of sobriety, was I in danger of drinking. Because I was in places that I should not have been. But the compulsion to drink was removed. That went away, when I put down the drink the last time.

It was my thinking that really needed a reboot.

That reboot continues to this day.

Don’t drink the first one, and you won’t get drunk. How novel…

Time for dinner…