by Oliver Lodge
was drinking and still going to AA. He would tell everyone that he was sober,
but you could smell the booze on him from a mile away. He always came in late.
I remember him hobbling across the room for a free cup of coffee, his drooping
torso wobbling atop his displaced hip, and his worn, grungy, red face. A member
would qualify in the back of the musty room in the church basement and then the
discussion would go counterclockwise around the table.
"All bets are off, if I pick up a drink. That's why I need to let
go and let God," the drunkard would say, when it was his turn to share.
"I no longer want to be the driver of the bus. I'm taking the backseat
from now on and letting God do the driving. It's all about the journey, not the
showed up at the meetings so drunk on a few occasions, that he was asked to
leave. I didn't see him for a long time. His name came up on a freezing, rainy
night in January at a Big Book meeting upstate. He had recently caught his son
smoking pot. The boy and the father had gotten into an argument, which
escalated into a physical altercation. The man was in a blackout when it
happened. He accidentally killed his own son.
was facing manslaughter charges when he made a surprise appearance at a meeting
where I happened to be in attendance. He didn't say anything about his tragic
circumstances when it came time for him to speak. He said what he had always
said . . . something to the effect of, "It's all about the journey, not
he kept repeating this to himself, as he walked out the door of the church that
night. He walked for miles in the rain until he came to a bridge overlooking
the Hudson River. He looked down at the shimmering, black water below him as
the rain trickled down his balding head and the back of his neck, the entire
time repeating what he had been muttering in the rooms of AA for years.
stepped off the iron precipice into the empty night, plummeting downwards,
while saying to himself, "It's all about the journey, not the
is an author who lives in upstate New York. He has
been published in Inner Sins, Creepy Campfire
Quarterly, ANON Magazine, Blood
Moon Rising Magazine,
Body Parts Magazine, Yellow Mama,
and Ravenwood Quarterly.