A few weeks ago, I wrote this post about Twitter becoming my real life. This morning, I sit in San Antonio, Texas by the good graces of more Twitter friends. I’ve decided that using the term “real life” doesn’t really work for me anymore. I’ve written before, how in 1988 I did AA meetings online, “met” people online, but they stayed online. Most people I met from that era, were just sorta odd. Probably including me.
A few years ago, I was on the Weight Watcher message boards. No, make that 7 years ago. I met some women, we started a Yahoo group, and we mostly exchanged information there. Then, we decided to meet. There were 13 of us. What is left of us, is 6 girls who meet every summer. Yes, they started out online, but they have become my real friends. We have a blog. We check in daily.
I never did take to Facebook, and I’m within days of permanent deletion (on my third try), because yes, I love to look at all your details, and I will, wasting 4 hours at a time. It’s just not really good for me.
I found Twitter a year ago. I’ve met many people, most of whom have turned out to be really great people. And, those connections have evolved. Just like life, your interests change, your focus changes, and your support team changes. I’ve been using Twitter primarily for fun and for free. Chit chatting at 140 characters at a time.
And then, this summer hits. And, the above mentioned blog post was about hooking up and having fun in San Diego. It was a blast. I came home, and had a week without my children, as they were in Los Angeles with my Mom and Dad. And my cousin’s Dad died (last post), and Yasmine sends me a Jet Blue ticket…literally out of the blue. I get to Virginia and meet Neal and Justin, and play foursquare.
I get back and go to Bass Lake, where one night…ONE NIGHT…I am waiting for my friend Ron to cross the finish at IronMan…and i have no internet connection, just relying on tweets, and Penny is sending me text updates, and I am on pins and needles because I know he needs to cross the finish before 17 hours…which he does, in 16:45…and I am jumping up and down in a cabin, and this is so far beyond “internet life”.
I’m at Bass Lake, and Lisa had previously asked if I wanted to come to San Antonio for the AA International Convention. I hadn’t been since 1995, and it was overwhelming and wonderful, but I just couldn’t swing another ticket. On Wednesday, I ask Lisa, if that’s still available, and from the lake, she gets the ticket, and tells me she has a place for me to stay. Internet friends? I think not.
I go to this convention, where I typically experience the same thing in crowds every time. I feel alone and lonely, and even with 31 years of sobriety, I cannot seem to connect. I finally find a regular panel meeting …We go to the Friday Night Flag Ceremony, and I have chills. We listen as speakers, regular speakers talk about their regular lives. No big shots. And, Saturday…I’m still walking around. Lisa and Gretchen go to lunch, and I go to a place called Sober City, and I’m talking to this guy about the Flying Pig Marathon, which is on my to-do list, and this man comes up and asks him, “Do you know a guy named…”
And, I turn around, and it’s Larry. Larry, who moved in with me 21 days after I left my first husband. No, I’m not proud of this, but he had a profound impact on my life. It wasn’t really a life decision, he needed a place to stay and I had one…BUT, I was madly in love with him, and he was just passing through…my kind of man. He was also 3 years more sober than me, and was getting a divorce too. Match made in heaven.
And here is where the impact comes in. I had 10 years of sobriety, but I had no conscious contact with a god or God. I used God in a 9-1-1-. HELP! situation. Larry would pray and meditate every day. He would say he can’t connect or talk or do anything until he had his quiet time. I couldn’t understand this, and in my 30 year old head, I would get this guy to love me…so I decided I would do the pray and meditate game. I would hear his Harley drive up at night, and I would turn off the lights and light candles and pretend to pray when he walked in. And, I would fake that I was getting a spiritual connection.
And then one day, he moved along. Back to Arizona…and I visited him once there, but we were just not suited for each other.
But. I continued to pray and meditate. And have hardly missed a day since 1989. And Larry, with the one eyebrow and Harley gave that to me. And, I never judge how people get to God. Just get here. It doesn’t matter how.
So, I look up at this AA Convention, and there is Larry. And we hug, and I bawl. And I see the twinkle in his eyes. The man who gave me God. Because I was dishonest and was trying to keep him as my boyfriend. And we go and catch up, and we have 6 divorces between us, and he has a bunch of kids, and found out after he left me, that he had PTSD from Vietnam. And we laugh. And all is well.
He orders 4 shots of Espresso, because…as he says, “We’re real alcoholics”. And I laugh, because this is the man I know and love. He and all his brothers are sober, and they save us seats at the big meeting, and one of his brothers is 90 days sober.
I cry. I hear the music of Chapter Five. I see my sponsor. I see my AA sisters. I see people I love and adore…and I realize that the friends I’ve met on Twitter are my real friends. In my real life. And I couldn’t ask for better people. And, I will tell you this. I needed to see Larry. To remember my real purpose on this planet. To be of service to the still sick and suffering alcoholic. That my purpose is not ME ME ME.
And today, we go to an AA meeting in San Antonio, and we are going to the hospital, because Lisa got a call that an alcoholic needed some support. And even and especially when it is inconvenient, we stay on the firing line of life.