Six months and one day ago I was alone, homeless, broke, hopeless, dealing with untreated mental illness and didn't have a reason to live.
Now I am not able to say if I came up with the idea that going to sit in a roomful of drunks, junkies and degenerates was better than stepping in front of an oncoming light rail or if G-d Hisownself was responsible, but either way, I made my way to a meeting.
As I walked to the York Street Club, my mind actively plotted how it would end me were it not satisfied with the outcome of this meeting because anything, including death, was better than what I was dealing with, or rather NOT dealing with. My mind had convinced itself that a meeting was only an hour long, and given the 30 minute walk there and back, it could have me stepping in front of a light rail in time to make the drive time newscast if this AA bullshit didn't seem like it would do anything.
The topic of the AA meeting that I first attended was "What G-d Has Done For Me" and when I heard this I laughed not so silently to myself as I already knew what G-d had done for me.
G-d had fucked me.
G-d had taken from me the love of my life.
G-d had robbed me of my livelihood.
G-d had made me homeless.
G-d had deprived me of my very will to live.
Whether or not this was some cruel cosmic joke or some cruel cosmic coincidence I did not know. Either way I was intent on sitting through this meeting as my mind had decided that was what I was going to do and if it didn't work, well, I had a date with a light rail.
Sitting there in that room of sober drunks and me, I passed judgement on this and derisively mocked that until a large, shiny jowled man sitting right next to me said "My name is Joe and I am an alcoholic." His voice hit me with the force of a lead pipe to the head as I had not noticed him sitting there when I sat down. He spoke tersely and forcibly and without embellishment and while I don't remember everything he said, I do remember his closing words "Like G-d will fuck up my life any worse than I have."
That was six months and one day ago.
In that time I have carried Joe's wisdom with me and "Like G-d will fuck my life any worse than I have." has become a very powerful mantra for me.
In that time I have not drank or drugged.
In that time I have started looking for a job and have even had several interviews.
In that time I have started developing a community of people who care about me and I have cried from happiness because of it.
In that time I have started to live honestly and embrace my past misdeeds.
In that time, three people have allowed me to stay with them from time to time so I am no longer sleeping in an abandoned house.
In that time I have begun to deal with my mental illness by attending group and individual counseling sessions and sticking to a medication schedule.
Please keep in mind that my life, by any measurement, still sucks. I've no job, no source of income, no permanent place to live, rely on public assistance for food and healthcare and still have terrible days that see me sobbing uncontrollably for seemingly no reason at all.
However, what I can say exists in my life where before it didn't is an emerging sense of possibility. This has been given to me by people I have met both in and out of the rooms who have gone down this road, suffered what I am suffering and can give me the experience, strength and hope that I don't yet have.
They can help me match serenity to calamity and know that while it won't get all better right now, what I have gone through and what I will yet go through will someday help someone, somewhere.
Just like Joe's words of wisdom helped me exactly when I needed it.
Be well, do good work and keep in touch.