From time to time, I think back to a relationship I had over twenty-four years ago. My husband (a Nam vet) of nineteen years had recently left me. I was totally devastated, especially when I found out he’d been having an affair with one of my (younger) friends.
I had been attending Al-Anon and Open AA meetings for several years prior to that, due to my husband’s overindulgence in booze. – Now that he was gone, I needed the fellowship I’d found there more than ever.
The meeting place was just a mile from my home. It was a stand-alone building that they actually called a clubhouse. They had meeting rooms as well as a snack bar, and also a recreation room with pool tables.
Well, the first night of my now single life, I made myself sit down on a barstool at the snack bar. I must have looked as pitiful as I felt, but then, a lot of us looked pitiful. I desperately needed to make a human connection; to have someone to tell my troubles to.
A man and woman next to me finally took notice. I began to pour my heart out to them. We talked for hours, till the club was ready to close. These two new friends were so concerned about my state-of-mind, that they urged me to come to their apartment for the night.
I reluctantly agreed, and we talked into the wee hours of the morning. They were a God-send to me. I honestly don’t know how I would have gotten through those dismal hours without their compassion and concern.
Little did I know that this new friendship would lead me (unwittingly) into another dysfunctional relationship with another combat vet. Or that I would soon learn the meaning of a dry drunk.
I’ll continue this in my next posting, and share what I learned through this strange pairing.