First Meeting

Published May 5, 2013 by Johanna

So here we are, wherever here is. This church basement smells like an old locker. And look at all these people – young, so young, probably younger than me – gathered here, to talk exclusively about their addiction. But do I really belong here? John came with me after confessing he has been sober for two years. I couldn’t believe it at first. How did he hit such a hard bottom so quickly? I was supposed to go to out patient rehab but I rescheduled. John wanted to take me to a meeting first, so I’d have a better idea about the whole thing.

Honestly, I don’t think I have a drinking problem. These people did hard drugs. I never touched heroin. And smoking pot doesn’t count.

So why am I here? I pictured all alcoholics lived under a bench. I guess not. Some of them are functioning addicts it seems. Still, why am I here? I can stop drinking whenever I desire. I don’t have a problem.

This lady speaking in the front is talking about her life without drugs. I don’t do drugs – well except pot. And I’ve already decided smoking weed doesn’t count.

I’m not an addict. My legs keep fidgeting as I try to focus on what the woman is saying. But I can’t understand a thing she’s talking about. I’m pretty sure she’s speaking the same language as me though. The words just don’t make any sense.

Step? Higher power? What? Gibberish that’s all it is.

As I itch to get off my seat, John gently puts his hand on my shoulder. “Please stay,” he mouthes.

I stare at him, not sure if I should stay or go. “I don’t feel good, I need some air,” I whisper.

He smiles. “Do you want me to come along?” he whispers back.

I nod. For some reason, I can’t bring myself to leave without him, like it’s going to disappoint him.

He nods in response, and we step away from our chairs. Good thing he made us sit in the back, closer to the exit.

As soon as we leave the room behind, I start breathing again.

“I’m sorry,” I mumble.


He doesn’t sound mad. I shrug. “I dunno,” I say.

He moves closer and gives me a hug. “It’s okay, I’m not mad.”

He says that like he just read my thoughts. I can’t let go of him for a moment, like his hug is all I ever needed to feel whole again. And just like that, I start crying on his shoulder.

He pats my back as I weep into his jacket. “You’ll be okay,” he repeats over and over.

If only time could stop now, I’m not sure I’ll ever be happy again. Not even his words can pierce the shell of my own despair.

Why is this funk hitting me so hard? Since when did I let depression rule my life? Maybe this is what existence has turned out to be. A big pile of nonsense.

“Is there really a solution to this?” I ask in between sobs.

John looks at me – and I want to melt in his understanding eyes. How does he know so much about how awful I feel inside? He’s so young. Too young to have been broken like I’ve been broken. He shouldn’t know about pain. He needs to be protected, sheltered.

Just like all these many other young people I saw at this meeting.

Shit. Who am I fooling?

“I guess I understand why you took me to this meeting,” I say.

“Yes, why?” John replies.

I take a deep breath. “Because…”

He stares at me. I’m nervous.

“I have a problem. I have a drinking problem,” I add.

He smiles. “Do you?”

I nod.

“Do you want to go back inside?” he asks.

“Yes,” I say with a shaky voice.

“Okay then let’s go,” he takes my hand and we walk back into the smelly basement.

To be continued…


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