Palm Springs

Earlier this week, I went to a meeting in Palm Springs.  I woke up and walked outside and it was a cold morning. Dry. The winds were strong, or they weren’t, but I noticed them like I don’t in the city. Everything around me was moving, responding to them. There was the sound of them. I walked down one of the two main streets, along the strip malls, the empty commercial suites, the palms, the sky blue tile on the Bank of America. I was late to the meeting. As I walked in, the speaker said “If it’s not over, you’re not late.” I nodded and waved at him, awkwardly, to acknowledge the coincidence and, awkwardly, he didn’t notice. The stories in Palm Springs were dramatic, filled with intense images that seemed at home in the desert. A man talked about taking his head off and setting it on the nightstand next to him, opening his spirit. Another man talked about electro shock therapy. I felt like, if I was his age, I would have tried that, too.

I hear a lot of people talk about going anywhere in the world, finding a meeting, and feeling at home. I’m not sure if I would say I feel at home, but I get it. In every meeting I go to, in whatever city I’m in, I feel comfortable. I also sometimes, later, miss the people I met at them. Not like I would miss a close friend, but I get nostalgic for them. I suppose that’s because we share so much in such a short amount of time, because we say things like “I woke up from a blackout in handcuffs.” Say things like “I have missed out on so much of my life because of shame and fear” and “I am so grateful to be out of there. Out of that abject misery that was my drinking life. I am so grateful to be alive.” And because we all listen and nod and say “Me too.”

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