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Grapevine : August 2011
then? Deep down, I knew I was ra- tionalizing, but I didn't care. After a couple of days in that motel, my head began to clear and I realized that I was in deep trouble. I picked up the phone, called direc- tory assistance and got the number for the county AA intergroup. I ex- plained to the man who answered the phone that I needed to go to an AA meeting. He gave me the name and address of a meeting that would be held the following day. I tossed the alcohol, bought some supper, and went to bed---the first smart thing I had done in quite some time. This would mark the beginning of a new life in sobriety and, as I was to learn, much more. I arrived in the parking lot of the meeting facility early the next morn- ing and, as I sat in my car drinking a container of coffee, I watched men and women of various ages arrive and move from the parking lot to the building. I was becoming very nervous. These people seemed happy and friendly, which meant that ei- ther I was in the wrong place or that I was in the right place. Either way, I wouldn't fit in. Why weren't these people miserable, disheveled, des- perate and uncomfortable? Weren't they alcoholics? Hadn't they made messes of their lives just as I had? I got out of the car and started to walk toward the rear of the build- ing as I had seen others do. Now, I was really nervous because most of them were speaking to each other, smiling, even joking around. This wasn't for me ... this was some kind of clique. I am so out of here, I re- member thinking. As I was leaving, I noticed a cus- tomized motorcycle parked near the walk path. I used to ride, so it caught my interest. I walked over to get a better look. Standing nearby was a mountainous individual, watching as I admired his machine. I compliment- ed him and he thanked me, pegging me immediately as a "first timer." He asked me if I was going to the meeting. I told him I was think- ing about it, but I had never attended one before. I now thought perhaps another time would be better. He smiled, extended his hand and intro- duced himself as Wayne. He said that there was no better time than right now and that I should relax, come into the meeting with him and meet some really good people. He was so sincere, so passionate about how im- portant this would be for me, I put my apprehension aside and, for the time being, abandoned my escape strategy. As we turned toward the build- ing, another fellow pulled in on a motorcycle. Wayne smiled and, as the man got off the bike, Wayne started teasing him about the wind- shield on his bike (which looked odd) and it became obvious that these two knew each other and the ribbing was nothing new. Wayne introduced me 44 August 2011