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Hi, there.  My name is Bob and I’m an alcoholic.

That’s my dad.  And I never really like it when he says that—that he’s an alcoholic.  I mean, he is, they all are forever, I guess.  That’s what he says.  But he hasn’t really been since I was a little girl and we lived in the old house with the night when he came home drunk and the yelling that woke me from bed in my nightgown and Mom that made him sleep in the car in the garage while my little brother and I sat behind her on the stairs, sniffling.

I’m thankful to my higher power, which I choose to call God.

That’s what Dad says at the meetings when it’s his turn to talk.  He told me today and I was silent for a long time after.  I knew that people said that kind of stuff; I know all about higher power this and that from AA.  I just never knew that’s what Dad said, too.

Him and Mom went splitsville in their marriage two years or so ago and it was a surprise even though it wasn’t a surprise at all.  They’d always been off, because they’re both a little off—the way we’re all a little off.  Dad moved out when I was living in Colorado.  I drove through the mountains to the public library one day while Dad told me about his apartment-condo-y place.  He was staying there all alone and Mom was at home.  I remember the road, the phone to my ear, and it was all surreal. 

When Mom and Dad got righted again, and we all lived in the same shared home, I thought they were figuring out the Jesus thing, too.  I thought we were past ethereal pluralism and new spirituality, where all this higher power help lives.  When red balloons are red, they are red for everyone, even if folks want to see them as blue or green or aquamarine.  A place where true things are always true and we’re bold enough to be exclusive because life has consequences.

I’m just as broken, just as addicted, just as absurdly perfect of a candidate for the hundreds of thousands of AA meetings across the country this Thursday afternoon.  And my higher power is the King of Kings, the Savior of the world.  And not one of my twelve steps is worth a damn without Him.