One last memory of the "Big Apple"
The directions led me to a pretty run-down building on 42nd street. I knew it was on the 3rd floor so when I saw a young guy waiting at the elevator I asked him if this was the way to the AA meeting. He glared at me and nearly bit my head off but at least his angry answer was “Yes”.
I followed him and, as soon as we entered the room I realized that this was a “no-nonsense” group. There were no frills … just 5 rows of folding chairs and the usual literature and slogans on display. It was quite a small group but their welcome was warm and I felt “at home” right away.
The first 15 minutes an elegant lady in her 70’s shared her story. She had enjoyed a successful career as an actress until alcohol got the better of her. She recalled passing out on stage in front of a packed audience and lying about the cause of it. When it happened again she could no longer pretend it was anything but drunkenness and she was fired. This wasn’t enough to stop her from drinking however and it was a downward spiral until she came to the rooms of AA in 1975. She’s been sober ever since and, after 4 years in the program, she married a man, also a member of AA, who had directed one of her plays years before !
After her talk each person was asked to give their sobriety date and to share a bit. Since there were only 10 of us we had plenty of time. I loved the fact that the audience was a cross section of humanity…from the requisite old codger in blue jeans to a handsome man who could have come straight from the board room. Oh, and the angry young guy ? He had just 3 days ! He was hanging on for dear life and every one of us could relate to his pain. I wished him well as I was leaving and he actually gave me a hug. I pray that he makes it.
It was an hour that I will treasure and a good way to say “goodbye” to NY. And, yes, I did get my last glimpse of Times Square…