I’ve known my friend Tina for 36 years. We first met at a small town delicatessen, in the summer of 1981. Tina, equal parts singer-songwriter and gardener is a mix between Bonnie Raitt and Beatrix Potter. One hand mimicking song, the other swirling soil. Our relationship has endured some long periods for integration and disentanglement- of subtle and not so subtle threads of conditioning and attachment. We’ve had one period during that stretch where we did not see each other for 9 years: had no communication via phone, text, email or other device. During those other 27 years, we have seen each other several times a year, sometimes more, sometimes less.
Tina, some 10 years ago had a drunk driving arrest. She was skidding along the alcohol gutter but had not yet hit rock bottom. Then after a couple more years, another DUI; this second one landed her in a Christian camp called Teen Challenge. Here Tina was sent, a 50-something women amidst a group of 30 some odd teen girls- all being ‘punished’ for alcohol or drug-related offenses. Apparently the judge was having a bad hair day, hearing too many horrific tales of alcohol-related catastrophes. Tina, he decided like some kind of psychic-law-dispenser, was trapped in the emotional body of a teen and thus needed to be treated as such. The judge sentenced Tina to a 13-month incarceration at this ‘religious prison for teens’, as Tina called it. As much as this event brought her intense trauma, it also delivered gifts: sobriety, increased insight, healing and a teen friend soulmate (big sister-little sister relationship), among others benefits.
In the last months, I have sensed that Tina has begun to drink again. This started when I swung by her house; she was not home. I checked her backyard/garden area. She was not there either but her cat Sarge-a large, exquisite Main Coon, was. Sarge, luxuriated on a old pillow nestled in the shade under an outdoor umbrella.
“Your Majesty,” I smiled. Sarge looked up with calm, uninterested eyes. I began to massage him gently.
“Now you’re on it! What is it you need to know?” Sarge turned slightly as if to order my hands about like court jesters.
“You are the King, Sire.” I mused. He seemed please with my respect and allowed me to stay. The Main Coon’s have an interesting history, as they may well be the offspring of Persian and Angora cats mixed with a common shorthair variety.
As I sat in Tina’s creative masterpiece, the garden, I felt her energy through the cat, and the earth. I continued my communion with Mr. Sarge:
“So Tina is disappearing into the Sauce again, huh?!”
Sarge nodded, a nonchalant acknowledgement. I continued with my queries: “Sipping on the granny’s grain store, is she? Downing the grape nectar!” I continued.
Finally Sarge spoke:
“What’s a cat to do?”
For the alcoholic thinks they can get away with it—“as long as I don’t drive, as long as I don’t do this or that…just keep the drinking in moderation…” -and on the rationalization goes. All you have to do is read the story of Bill W., one of the founders of AA, to get an inkling of the damage that alcohol can cause.
I don’t know if my ‘intuition’ is on or not about Tina’s alcohol. I do know that she is in some kind of avoidance energy. Tina knows that the mask will come off if she sees me. I will know right away if she has been drinking. And when denial mechanisms have become entrenched again, truth must be avoided at all costs, so that one is able to continue their manipulative ways and self-deceit.
I’ve always been a diver. Jump first, review later. It’s served me well and been my nemesis at the same time. When I began to share my intuitions with my Bestie, as we call each other, she shared her insights. (Bestie: This playful, childlike phrase was borrowed from her 8 year old nephew- as he describes his schoolmate/girlfriend and future wife using the term “Bestie’).
My Bestie said, after a lengthy discourse on mechanisms of lock and key conditioning, how the savior-enabler-healer pattern is the other side of the addiction pattern.
“Al-Anon,” my Bestie said, “can bring light and awareness to this codependent side, the enabler side, and help you see how it plays into Tina’s addiction pattern. My Bestie should know, she went to Al-Anon for years and extracted much wisdom. My Bestie’s own mother slipped into mental illness when she was 7 years old (she took over as the mom at age 7) while at the same time her father was an alcoholic who drank heavily at night after work.
Soon we were on to the benefits of Al-Anon which she claims is an authentic enlightenment tradition. “AA is a true awakener, the 12 steps mirror the spiritual path.” She continued–as the original founders of AA and many other have had legitimate spiritual awakenings that have transformed them from the inside out.
Alanon is one of the AA-Sister Organizations, for those with friends, close associates or family who are alcoholics or drug addicts. “You’ll see the savior pattern operating in others and that will make it easier for you to see within yourself.” My Bestie finished.
I could not resist. And at first the comedic cover up jumped, originally seeing the Al-Anon thing from the investigative reporter angle (for I am completely clear of all issues and will just write a nice piece about it from the safe space of the heavens)–so I belted forth my monologue:
“Hi, I’m Michael, an enabler and savior—not the Savior, a savior. I just want to say ‘I love you all and I am here for you. You’ll be seeing a lot of me in the next month. I’ll have a signup sheet for those needing any free unsolicited healings, spiritual guidance, help, enabling or saving’…”
My Bestie laughed a hearty chuckle.
It will be an interesting experience no doubt. I shall share in the coming weeks.