Goose takes my hand and leads me inside the house. That warm kitchen is there smiling at us as we step inside. I start to unzip my jacket as Goose disappears into his bedroom. “Don’t get too comfortable, we’ll be leaving as soon as I get changed’ are his instructions from the other room. Now I’m very curious as to what he has planned for our evening. Within minutes he reappears. It amazes me how quickly a man can go from work attire to evening out in a matter of minutes. I spent the better part of an hour getting ready and packing my little bag, just in case I might need it. Goose takes my hand and grabs my purse from the table where I’d set it. He hands it to me as he’s leading me back out of the warm kitchen, past the wagging, sniffing dogs and out to his car. He kisses me quickly as he unlocks my door and hurries to the driver’s side of the car. This is a cool fall evening, and the sky has been dark for well over an hour, so the car is cold and sassy as I settle into my seat and buckle my safety belt. As we pull away from the driveway, Goose starts explaining our hurry. He said “we’re off to Rochester.” I wait with anticipation for him to finish his thought. He slows down a bit and drives cautiously around a couple of curves and instructs me sternly, “be careful when you’re driving around these curves, there are alot of deer through here, especially at dusk.” I respond with”so where are we off to?” His response was again completely unexpected. “Shortly after my wife died, I made some bad choices and got into a little trouble. I got picked up driving after I’d been drinking. Now I attend AA and I haven’t had a drink in over a year. Tonight is the meeting that I go to.. it’s open to the public, so you can come with me if you want to, or I can drop you off at a mall nearby for the hour I’ll be there. Then we’ll go get some dinner and check out a movie.” This man is either extremely confident in himself or very trusting that I’ll be understanding. He was quiet while he waited for my reaction and response.
I’m of the belief that everything happens for a reason, in fact Michele gave me a book for my birthday with that very title. And if this is the path spread out before me, then I’ll go to see where it leads me. I decided this was as good a time as any to tell Goose a little bit more about my work. I told him that I had actually facilitated support groups for ten years and that I was very familiar with the topics and materials that are presented and I’d be just fine accompanying him. I asked just to make sure, ‘are you comfortable with me attending?’ Now I realize he’d asked me to come along as his guest.. but I was giving him new information too. It was settled, our evening was going to continue with an AA meeting. Once we arrived at the meeting site, Goose once again took my hand and lead me inside the fellowship area of a church. There were already about twenty people inside. Some were already seated, others were getting coffee or chatting. As we walked inside, Goose stopped and said hi to a man near a podium. He introduced me to the facilitator, who shook my hand and welcomed me and offered coffee. Goose and I took seats on one side of the long lunchroom-style table toward the far side of the room. Goose seemed very pleased that I was here with him. He held my hand all through the meeting. The facilitator got everyone’s attention and read through The Twelve Steps of recovery. I had used similar materials in my groups. He announced members who had reached achievements for sobriety, and then gave the topic for the night and a short lesson about his own recovery and how it related to the topic. Then he opened the meeting to anyone who cared to tell their experiences. I sat quietly, still holding Goose’s hand, absorbing all of the familiar-ness of the meeting. Then as the meeting was about to close, we all stood and held hands. Together we recited:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change
The courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference.
Then the members, all still holding hands, said: “Keep coming back, it works IF you work it.”
As some of the people began putting coats back on and throwing away their cups, a couple of people came up to talk with Goose. I stepped back to allow him privacy, but he didn’t let go of my hand. I stood at his side, and he introduced me as his ‘friend.’ This guy is really self-assured. It’s as if we’d been together for a long time.. welcoming me into very personal parts of his world this way. Laying all of his cards on the table so to speak. It’s actually a pretty smart albeit it a risky move. Being honest about who you are, and waiting to see if the other person can and will accept that. To be honest, I felt proud to be there with Goose. Here is a guy who is seriously working on his life, to repair the parts of it that weren’t working and replacing those imperfections with better options. I’m honored to be a part of that. It’s also just after 9 p.m. and I’m STARVING!
Goose knows all of the out-of-the-way really good places to eat. As we drive to the restaurant, he shares about different sites and memories that are triggered by being here in Rochester. Finally we arrive and are seated in a comfortable booth for dinner. Goose sits across from me now, looking into my eyes. I wonder what he sees. But there is no time for emotional mind wandering. The waitress is there with menus, beverages and warm bread. This morning, I had no idea that I would end up in a restaurant in Rochester at 9:30 pm having dinner at a place I’ve never heard of. Life is an adventure… and I’m having a great time!