I believe in amazing Grace . . .
Alcoholics Anonymous is miracle territory. 21 years ago, and two years after my father’s death I found myself in hell. I was a twice divorced impoverished mother of two sons, one who was in my custody. The other removed many years before by powerful in laws who wanted to give my son what money could buy.
Fearing another custody battle, because of my carousing in bars and drunken lifestyle, I called AA. The person answering the phone told me of a meeting at the hospital, which sounded “right.” From that meeting, I learned of other meetings in church basements, and found out that there was a spiritual, not religious side to this thing called AA.
I went to meetings every night, trading my habit of carousing bars into 8:30 pm meetings around town. What I found there were people who became fast friends, and who I could share sober times with. I played a lot of basketball, went to sober dances, which were and still are very odd to me. And, I laughed a lot, and shared my experience, hope, and strength with people in the many groups and meeting times around my hometown of Royal Oak, MI. Laughter is common in AA, because we narrowly have escaped the tragic dependency on alcohol.
Meanwhile, my son was growing up, he was, as many teenagers are, difficult. We went on with our lives through a traumatic eviction from our home, by my mother, who owned the house. My mother had planned to snatch my son, but my grandmother intervened, and anonymously had the church call to offer Adam a trip east, the very day my mother was planning to take him back to Florida with her.
I continued with AA, and was going to school to learn graphic arts, and working as a house cleaner for friends of my grandmother’s through her church. It was humbling, and appropriate, since I had understood the painful truth from a long time ago, that I didn’t deserve normal things like schooling.
I was twice divorced and a sixties rebel around sex, love, drugs and rock and roll. Still, I was now doing something about my alcoholism. The path was not always easy., when my son turned 21 and wasn’t interested in college I kicked him out. He went to live with some bachelors, and at some point figured out that his life was going no where.
He’d been talking about a school in New York since he was 18, and while making a black felt curtain so he could use his space to show movies he’d made as an amateur filmmaker, I counselled him. I told him that if he really liked the lady’s (he had recently been dumped by a model he had dated) he needed to do what he talked about doing and go to film school. I found the words to convince him further, don’t worry about money I told him, just go for it.
That’s just what he did, he went to New York, and knocked on the doors of the School of Visual Arts. He sent a handwritten screenplay to me to type for him, and after submitting that, they accepted him into the film program. He was able to apply for financial aid, as he was 21 years old, and his great-grandmother helped him out when he needed it. His grandmother on his father’s side, contacted a friend in Manhattan where he was able to rent a room. He worked at various jobs, and eventually he found a space in the warehouse district to build a loft, so he had cheap rent.
My son’s drive to get his film education, inspired me to move away from the town I’d lived in for 48 years. During his fourth year at SVA, I moved to New Mexico. I sent him a postcard to mention I’d moved. I drove here in a white VW Jetta, with a white long-haired cat named Jinx, a sleeping bag, and a suitcase.
It was two years later that Adam first came for a visit to New Mexico, he came twice, and as his schooling was finishing up, he and his new girlfriend decided to move to Taos. They spent two years working at Dharma Vision, an AA mother’s dream. Adam was editing Buddhist film footage for Mongolian television.
After two years in Taos, Adam and his girlfriend Wendy moved to Hollywood where eventually they ended up as editors. Today my son works for Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Al Gore. I am warm with pride for who my son is today. And, since he is in California, he has connected with, and forgiven his deadbeat father, a successful businessman who lives with his third wife in Walnut Creek, CA.
About the time, Adam and Wendy left New Mexico, I had hooked up with a therapist, who convinced me to go back to school. It is through the miracle of meeting her, that I continue. I am realizing a dream from long ago, before the alcohol took over and my life got spinning out of control.
Meanwhile, I am at the University of New Mexico, earning a long delayed BFA in studio arts. I don’t go to AA meetings much anymore. It’s been 21 years since I last had an alcoholic drink. My son has bought two properties in Taos, so he returns to New Mexico a couple of times a year. He and his girlfriend are still together, wisely investing their money in property, they also purchased a home in Joshua Tree, CA.
Around Christmas time or even Thanksgiving, I like to go to AA meetings. I get lonely for family. So, I get comfort from the group around the holidays. I never thought that my life could turn out like this. I couldn’t have planned this out, it would have been so much less. They tell me in AA that God has a plan for me, and gratefully I found it to be true. The plan is often more than my heart can hold. AA is miraculous recovery for me. God’s grace has given me a life worth living.
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