I DIDN’T KNOW I WAS GOING TO THE CIRCUS
I show up at a meeting. I didn’t know the circus was in town. I expected calm, demure, sober behavior. My expectations were dashed, my bubble burst. There were people streaming back and forth in front of the speaker; there were kids playing among the chairs. Smokers worked the meeting in shifts, hustling out the back door and smoldering back in. The side conversations rivaled the main attraction. People dressed for the street not for the meeting. The ‘bippy shirt, tights, and no skirt’ was more of a high wire act than I had ever seen before. Shock cannot even begin to describe the state of my mind.
“But for the grace of God,” said my sponsor.
“No,” I said. “It’s a choice, they’re sober now.”
“Oh, yes,” she remarked.
“Weren’t you sober when you took on every man with time, looking for a fight with each of them?”
“I was cutting my chops. They understood.”
“Some of them didn’t,” said she. “Weren’t you sober when you dyed your hair red, but only half?”
“I was afraid I’d dye my scalp, so I started lower.”
“Yes, but aren’t you the one who says sudden hair color change is a sign of instability in your sobriety?”
“Yes, I do,” I replied.
“I think you would have fit well with the circus, you and your two-tone hair, but you didn’t hear it from me.”
“You’re being mean.”
“And what are you being?”
“That’s my girl! What are you going to do about it?”
“Be grateful. Grateful I got in quick enough, grateful people let me work things out in the rooms, and grateful I still have something to learn from everyone.”
Hold a rock in your hand until you warm it
Maniacs on Pogo Sticks
I fear maniacs on pogo sticks peeping through
my rural second story windows
as the smoke of paranoia curls between my ears.
Overestimating my interest to others
causes me as much harm as the underestimation.
Attributing super powers to onlookers
is a parlor trick my ego plays
to keep me occupied while my life passes by.
I sacrifice all my possibilities for fear
of what could be stolen through my keyhole.
I cut off my face to spite my poor lonely nose.
I must move forward in spite of my disquietude
for the future lay ahead, yet I do console myself
that it is harder to hit a moving target.
You are reading selections from Sober on the Way to Sane and More Lines From My Life by Sherrie Theriault