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Sobriety is a Gas…

Sobriety is a Gas…



I have heard that the best way to get acclimated after moving to a new city is to “overbook” all the interesting things that have been suggested for you to do. The theory is that you are so busy, you forget to be lonely and you meet new people and can always cut out the things that don’t intrigue you after you have developed a fabulous, interesting social life. I am not an overbooker. But, I do not want to spend the rest of my days in Grand Rapids sighing happily and looking up at the rafters in my apartment (although I am a little too thrilled to be ensconced in my church garret). I tend to isolate, and hard as it is for me, when you are new to a city you have to make some of the first moves. I kind of hate the expression “reach out”, but that is what I am trying to do.


I can’t decide if I’m lazy or introverted, but reaching out is not easy for me. I have made a list of meetings and events, stores, museums, gyms, cultural volunteer organizations and interesting parts of town to explore. I have passed an art gallery several times when they had openings going on and said aloud, “I have to get on their mailing list.” But it seems like I fall back on long hikes (good) and holing-up (bad).


So I’ve decided I am going to overbook. And since I am in recovery, I will explore a variety of meetings, organizations and programs designed to keep people sober in Grand Rapids. I work for an addiction treatment center, but that doesn’t necessarily count in keeping me sober – we spend time working on the sobriety of others and there is certainly some opportunity for self-analysis in the process, but it would be inappropriate to sob out my troubles in the middle of a group I am heading (that is only an example, I am not inclined to “sob out” in any event, but you get what I mean…).


I headed for a get-together on Friday: new girl, late, lost and out of gas. I stopped to throw enough petrol in the car to get me to the meeting where my new friend Jan, was waiting and somehow, as I pulled the spigot out of the tank it sort of erupted like Old Faithful and gas splashed all over my pants. I am not exaggerating. The thing to have done, had I an extra half hour, which I didn’t, was to go home put my pants in a hazardous waste container, throw them in the dumpster and take a shower. Instead, I drove to the building where the meeting was being held and went in.


So, here I am, brand new to the town and trying to make friends and influence people and I arrive late, smelling like I crawled out from under a repair job in a grease pit. I don’t know how many self-help meetings you’ve attended, but there is always hugging involved. People get close. They hold hands. They smoke


I can’t say my foray into “reaching out” was a smashing success, but I did go walking on Saturday with the Riverside Ramblers and I did get on the mailing list for the gallery. I think next Friday evening, I should spritz my L’Eau d’Issey behind my ears and redeem myself (if anyone will stand next to me)….


Today I’m not drinking because I am reaching out and overbooking and I want to win friends and influence Grand Rapidians…


How come you’re not drinking?


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Comments (5)

  1. Avatar
    Tim S
    May 2, 2016

    . Sorry about the pants but good job. When you STOP writing about putting yourself out there in your new place is when we’ll all have to start worrying about you.

    As I’ve written before, I’ve moved a couple of times in recovery. It’s HARD. It would be SO much easier, just tonight, to stay home and “review” (binge) the first 5 GoT seasons to make sure I’ve got all the storylines straight for Season 6. Unlike for others, though, for us that choice can become, before we even realize it, a matter of life and death

    You seem to be doing great. Keep coming back.

    • Marilyn
      May 3, 2016

      Got to get out there. The good news is when I hole up it’s in a nice place…

  2. Avatar
    May 2, 2016

    M. I am with you on “reaching out”. Everyone seems to be reaching out to someone, for something. I’m not sure what happened to ” I spoke with….” Instead I “reached out”.
    I hope the old Jersey saying, “fo get about it ” doesn’t turn into. “Pls. Do not let it bother you”.
    Sorry you got “gassed”. Better than smelling like booze. Hang I there, R

    • Marilyn
      May 3, 2016

      Very, very good point. The times I walked around reeking of stale wine… And I will continue to hang in there. Promise.

  3. Avatar
    May 3, 2016

    Undyimg Love
    By Ellie

    When word’s just don’t come
    When they simplify such a deeper thought
    Incapable of expressing what lies deep within you
    And can not accurately describe how I feel
    To be an artist would be my wish
    Not to be famous
    Not to be rich
    But to be seen

    How do you tangibly give roots to what is boundless?
    Combine letters to pour out what is inside a heart
    Paint a picture with words that sit inside you dying to come out
    Stronger than all forces I have ever encountered
    And give it to those three
    Not to be praised
    Not to be pitied
    But to be heard

    When I close my eyes and bow my head
    An emotion that can’t be quenched
    Deep, determined, strong, rhythmic, unsettled, undying
    Dare I call it a word when a word gives it no soul, no life
    Not to be brushed aside
    Not to be separated
    But to be felt

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