Dear Dead AA Friends,
Hey there! How are you?
Listen, sorry about the whole dying drunk thing. Most of you liked a good joke and a good time (too much, eh? Am I right?) while you were alive, so you can count on me not to go all boo hoo on you in this letter, ok?
So anyway... how's the afterlife? Good I hope. I'm still going to meetings and stuff -- seems a bit egotistical to think you'd check in on me and all, so I thought I'd just get you up to speed.
And they're still a challenge of course -- the personalities, my own ego, the routine of it all... you know, the usual. But when I don't go, it's like my thinking just gets darker and darker... even after all this time. I've tried not going, stretching the leash, skipping "the medicine," and every time I do it's like the guy I am -- the guy I like to be -- starts to fade out, and the Other Guy, the ism-guy, starts to step in. (And, confidentially, he is a bit of a paranoid asshole. Total buzz kill). So I'm still in meetings a lot ... four, sometimes five a week.
I think I made it to most of your memorial services. Nice, those, right? Lots of tears, lots of people being brave, saying nice things about you. (Some of you might have put some thought into leaving a few instructions for musical choices or time limits on the whole thing, but I understand very few of you really planned on the party ending quite the way it did -- deep down we all think "one more won't kill me" right? Boy, there's some egg on your face, huh?) I gotta say, it was tough looking at the family you left behind (most of you, anyway -- I know some of you got some really raw deals in that department). Sometimes I was afraid to go up and say anything to them, you know? I always did, but it was hard, and not just because of the loss.
I was afraid they would ask me The Question:
We both know there's no simple answer to that one!
For the record, when people talked about you, I always -- okay, usually -- stuck up for you. Sure, there were times it was useful to talk with one of my sponsees about what seemed to lead to your relapse and all, but I think I struck an even tone, refrained from judging. I tried to, anyway.
You gotta understand, the folks that get a little bitchy talking about your program, at heart they're just frightened, right? It's like, we found this thing that seems to work, then you go and slip, so it's like it didn't work for you -- and then you go and die! Jeeze! For what it's worth, most of the longtimers -- oh, hey, there's a bit of news for you, people have started saying "longtimers" instead of oldtimers -- man, you know I'm glad of that now, right? LOL! -- anyway, most of those longtimers -- well, us, I guess I should say "us longtimers" -- how weird it that? -- anyway, we know that no matter how you ... uh, checked out, no matter what the Death Certificate says, it was alcoholism and addiction that did you in.
Some of you might have slacked off on your Programs ... maybe some others it was the infamous "outside issues" that started to pile on ... like I said, I really try not to judge. I do try to mention your names, sometimes, keep the memory alive -- sorry if every so often it's in the boogey-man manner -- but you know it's just when I'm trying to make a point with a sponsee or a newcomer, right? Okay, okay, yeah, sure, fine ... sometimes I'm just being dramatic too. So sue me, most of you never exactly shied away from a dramatic gesture now and then.
Oh, and, you know the other reason I still go to a lot of meetings is... well, don't take this the wrong way, but ... you're not here. You're not here to help. I think of you, when I see an empty chair, especially in certain meetings, I think of you and how at one point some of you were just amazing at carrying the message ... wish you were here still to pitch in. Hey, not trying to guilt trip you or anything! Just being honest.
You know, I guess I can tell you this now... without judgment I sometimes review everything I know about you and your sobriety, and I even ask other people -- not in a gossipy way, I swear! -- about their impressions of your relapse and everything. See, I figure if there's absolutely any way I can learn something from what happened to you, then... well, then it's like I can have you with me, sort of, on some 12th Step work. If something -- god, anything! -- from your relapse and passing can help someone else not do what you did ... well, I don't want to say that it will make your death "not in vain," since I don't think you died in vain anyway ... but it's like ... it's like I can take the pain which your death caused everyone, your friends, family, sponsors, sponsees ... I can take that pain and maybe make something out of it which honors you. Use that stuff to make a testament to your time sober, to your attempt to address this ... well, I guess I don't have to tell you it's a fatal malady, right?
Anyway, I hope that's okay. I mean, I'm sure it is, but I just wanted to let you know.
Okay, I promised not to get all weepy, and here I go, waxing serious and sentimental on you. Sorry.
Take care, I'll write again, and ... since you're over there, if you have any influence over which numbers fall out in the Lotto ... I'm just sayin'...
Sincerely, your friend,