I had just opened my email this morning when a message appeared at the top of the unread list with the subject line “Time is running out…” OH MY GOD! I feared that Doctor Who was still too busy trying to figure out if he is a good or a bad man and coming to terms with it no longer seemingly appropriate for him to be flirting with his attractive young assistant that the Darleks were about to bring time to an end and the whole universe would disappear in some massive black hole. Apparently not. All it was telling me was I have until Friday to save 30% of something I have no intention of buying anyway.
What it did make me think though bizarrely on the train journey to work where I’m typing this nonsense on my smartphone was a phrase I often here in AA rooms which is “Time takes time”. I remember a couple of old wise heads telling me that 10 years ago as I was throwing myself around AA looking for the quick fix. I saw these people sat at the back of the room who smiled, chuckled, nodded and then when they spoke said things of such profoundness I was knocked off my seat repeatedly. When I zeroed in on them and said “I want what you have” they’d say “Time takes time” – or “If you want 10 years sobriety… stick around for 10 years”. But I wanted it all, and I wanted it NOW!!! Of course the irony of an addicted flipping his addictive desires to sobriety totally escaped me then.
Regular readers will know earlier this year I did indeed pass from counting years sober to being privileged enough to count decades and I still regularly feel like a newcomer. So much to still process and get to grips with. I may not be walking around daily with an obsession that drink will solve my problems, frankly the thought of having a drink now is really remote and if it does happen slightly a surreal happening. Take Monday for example. Mrs F was on her last day of summer holiday before returning to heard the wild cat like creatures that inhabit year 6 at her school for another year, so we went to the coast, Whitstable actually for a day out. My wife and daughter wanted to eat in a pub we’ve been in before. We go in, look at the menu, pick a table and order at the bar. Whilst I’m paying a guy walks in, the bartender says hello, talks about some event the day before asking if he is ok now and pours his favourite pint as the guy pulls up his no doubt favoured stool to sit at the bar. It was 1pm approximately. That was me (no disrespect to this individual he may only have the one every day) the guy all the bar staff knew, the one who always had the Guinness and sat on that seat and talked bullshit about how he was going to do this or not do that or how the world would be better if they listen to him. He was going to one day get his guitar and do something with it. He never did, he drank and drank and drank. For a split millisecond I was tempted to change my coke for a beer and go back to that life of days in bars talking utter shite. However the thought was so fleeting it never really stayed in any form in my brain other than an ephemeral glimpse of an old black and white movie that starred some guy who looked like me a bit but who I hardly no recognise doing stuff that I have no relationship with at all now.
The thought passes and I’m in the day. I pay the barman and take my coke to the table where I’m actually with my family to talk about coming concerns of new school years, starting university etc. Oh yes talking of the man with a guitar that did very little with it… I’m playing a gig this Sunday with the Music Cafe thing I do… never did that much when drinking. I’ll be playing my Gibson Les Paul, yes it is only a guitar but I longed for one all the while I was drinking but couldn’t justify the expense against my drinking bills. Also early in Oct I’m playing a live acoustic solo set, first for over a year, again something I never did drinking I didn’t have the balls. Now I do things I can and I want to do. I don’t sit on a bar stool telling people about what I’m patently not doing and I have some of the serenity in my life I wanted from those guys at the back of the AA rooms… oh yes… they are still there too and I still want what they have and hopefully I’ll get there… one day… after all as I’m inclined to tell newcomers who are thrashing around looking for a quick fix to their life “Time takes Time”.