|Adrienne follows this. Found on|
Chapter 20: An A.A. Meeting
Adrienne sat in the back of the room hoping she wouldn’t be called on to share. She listened to a woman in the front row going on about how bad she had it as a child; how she always felt different; how she held secrets of infidelity and abuse; how she had to work a Fifth Step with her sponsor; how she had to do everything she was told; how she was told she had to put her shoes under her bed to make sure she prayed and asked Jesus to keep her sober today; how she had to call three people every day; how she had to dress like a lady; and how she had to be taken to several meetings a week by her sponsor. This went on past the allotted three minutes and dragged on for at least ten before she came to the end of her spiel, saying, “I found God in Jesus Christ and I have to go to church. It works because I’ve been clean and sober for six months and you have to do as I have done if you want to stay sober. Oh, yeh, and find Jesus too .”
The woman was saying crap that disgusted Adrienne. This woman was an adult and spoke like a child with an abdication of personal responsibility and obedience that was submerged in a smothering submission. God, she thought, there must be a better way to do this shit. All the while she thought of the others. Irene was on suspended leave with pay until the investigation of Detective Ryan’s and Richards’ deaths were unraveled. Nick was dead and his dad, Harry, too. Max was in Cottage Hospital Intensive Care cuffed to his bed with a police guard for over a week and he might not make it. He had been unarmed when Miguel put two rounds in his back. If he does recover, he will probably have murder charges slapped on him. Yuri bled out before the police arrived from Nick’s reflexive wild spray of the MAC-Eleven. He’d been fatally wounded, a Spetsnaz special forces style head shot, while she hid under the stairs of the wine cellar. Harry’s body had been found on West Mountain Drive next to Ryan’s car. Ballistics had his fatal wounds coming from the ravine where Max had been found with a Tec-Nine nearby. Richards’ car was gone and there was no sign of Miguel. Richards’ car was found a few miles away on Camino Cielo near San Marco Pass as though it had been forced off the road. Three days later Miguel’s body was found near Red Rock with injuries consistent with falling several hundred feet from nowhere. Alesandro had gotten out of the country and, though she’d only met Jimbo once, she was glad he got out of town before anyone knew of him or the Bell Ranger. Teresa had been found pounding on the door to the stairs trying to get Irene out of the death trap of the burning building. These were secrets she would never tell a sponsor or anyone else. She would have to be tortured to tell of these things and, after all this, torture would be easy for her. Still, she knew she belonged in that meeting room.
Teresa was sitting next to Adrienne and clasping her hand lest she bolted out the door. It was a sisterly affection they had for each other since they were rescued by the police. That Teresa was in A.A. surprised Adrienne. They felt an immediate kinship with each other. They had both suffered rape, incest, and addiction. Both were from other countries. Teresa had immigrated to the USA before the uprising of Solidarity in Poland but kept her Polish citizenship. Though she usually dressed hippy-frumpy with reddish yellow hair in a tangled birds’ nest, her translucent skin, delicate nose, and gentle eyes, radiated a beauty of simplicity that Adrienne admired. She could see why Irene loved her so.
Teresa was called on next. She spoke softly at first, “I haven’t any idea about this emphasis on following direction from sponsors.” There was plenty of fidgeting around the room as she continued more forcefully, “I mean, my sponsor... no, not my sponsor! I don’t own a sponsor and a sponsor doesn’t own me. But I’ve worked the Steps. I can’t think of a time any sponsor I’d ever listen to could have told me how to dress or what meetings to go to. She has never mentioned God at all except to say that the purpose of the Big Book is to open the door for us so that we can find a power greater than ourselves sufficient for us to recover from alcoholism. I go to therapy for anything beyond that. That is all I have to say. I have no advice for anyone else. This is what has worked for me and I have had the pleasure of doing these things the last five years.”
No one applauded.