Jonah and the Whale:
We came to Believe
A Power greater than ourselves
Could restore us to Sanity.
We met that morning at the Waffle House on Church. Not that one; the good one. Of course I was hung over from too many free Long Island Iced Teas. Spike had suggested I skip my morning drink. If possible, he wanted me Dried Out.
The waitress walked up. “What can I get y’all?”
I ordered: “Black coffee, water and large hash browns covered and smothered.”
“Give him a large OJ, too. I’ll have hot cocoa, a chocolate chip waffle, bacon and eggs over medium.”
“You got it honey.”
After she left: “I don’t know if I can keep down OJ.” I admitted.
“You need the fructose to replace the sugar in the booze.”
“Fine: OJ it is. So are the shakes normal?”
“For a daily drinker like you? Yes.”
“Sweetness,” I said with sarcasm. “Do you think I’ll need medical detox?”
“Too soon to tell, but I think you will.”
“Great.” More sarcasm.
“Think of it as a five day vacation.”
“Yeah, right. Party down.”
“At least you still have your Sense of Humor.”
“Yeah.” I said with a sigh.
When the food arrived we ate in Silence. It has been a long while since I was able to keep down my breakfast. I have been drinking Jim Beam for breakfast. So that’s at least da good sign. After my second cup of Java, Spike broke the Silence: “Jonah, do you believe in God?”
Don’t pull any punches, Spike. “I’m a preacher’s kid, Spike: ‘enuff said.”
“I don’t Understand.”
“You know. Church every Sunday, Wednesday supper, Sunday school, etc.”
“Go on . . .”
“For example, when my Dad took the call to First Presbyterian Church of Anywhere, everyone in town Knew who I was before I met them. Annoying as Hell.”
“And I became a Rebel.”
“Now we’re getting somewhere.”
“I quit the Band ‘cause they were too Nerdy. Played soccer ‘cause I wanted to be a Jock. As a Sophomore, I flunked pre-Calculus. Which is ironic: I love Math.”
“Uh-huh. So what you’re saying is you didn’t want to be like your Dad?”
“Where did you get that from?”
He ignored my question. “You’re probably a Mama’s Boy like me.”
“I hate to admit it, but yes.” I didn’t like where this conversation was going, so I attempted to change the subject. “How did you get Sober?”
“The 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous by the Grace of God.”
“I thought you Cleaned up in NA.”
“Shows how little you Know . . . Keep that in Mind . . . So back to being a Mama’s Boy.”
“You Hate your Dad and Love your Mom.”
“That sums it up.”
“Let’s Keep it Simple for Now.”
We paid our bill and Spike left a fat tip. “Coffee? How bout Tweakopolis?”
“Sure. Will it help with the shakes?”
“Probably not. Just suck it up or you’ll end up in the ER, and I hate the freaking ER.”
“Duely noted. I hate the ER, too.”
“Worst case scenario, we buy a half pint of the cheap shit to taper you off with. Worser case scenario, you end up in the ER.”
“I’d do anything to avoid the ER. I got arrested the last time I was there.”
“You can tell me that Story sometime later. Now we’ve got bigger fish to fry.”
“Like what?” I asked.
“Oh . . .”
We ordered our coffees. Me: cold brew. Him: white chocolate mocha.
“Yes, sir.” Spike said.
“Well . . . I do have a diagnosis: Bipolar Disorder.”
“That sucks, but that’s not what I mean. We’re concerned with the Insanity of the First Drink. Attempting to stay away from the First Drink, again and again, is a Fool’s Errand. Only a Crazy person tries to do it more than once.”
“So I . . .”
“Don’t talk. Just listen.”
“You have tried to Sober up more than once, but it didn’t stick. I know because I saw you attempt to stay Sober several times by leaning on the Fellowship alone. Of course, that didn’t work for long. It never does because the Real Alcoholic is Insane. Only a Spiritual Awakening can protect us from the Insanity of the First Drink or Drug. Now you can talk.”
“So I don’t need Meetings?”
“No, dumbass. Meetings are necessary, but not sufficient by themselves.”
“How do I have a Spiritual Awakening?”
“The Awakening is different for everyone. The Path is the 12 Steps.”
“So I never have to Drink again?”
“If you follow The Path, you are guaranteed to have a Spiritual Experience. Therefore, you will not ever want to Drink again.”
“Sign me up!” I declared.
“Welcome to Step Two, Jonah.”