Sunday, January 3, 2010

Clean and Sober

Spouse and I did our grocery shopping on Friday, New Year's Day rather than our usual Saturday morning gig. I felt guilty shopping on a holiday when I think everyone should have a day off, but the thought of having two straight, undisturbed days at home with each other was incentive enough to get over my guilt. I enjoy meeting and talking with strangers. Little children and babies are always a joy and every now and again I'll strike up a conversation with an adult. Being a special day, I was wishing everyone who made eye contact a Happy New Year. Before I could say that to one, jovial looking man, he joyfully told me he had been clean and sober for six years. As of January 18 it will be seven years. Normally, I would think this kind of information is a little too intimate to share with strangers, but he seemed genuinely happy and proud to share his accomplishment. I gave him a warm smile, a high five and heartfelt congratulations. He grinned widely and told me he played guitar and wrote a song about AA meetings and his battle to overcome his addiction. As I politely listened I could tell people around us were wondering what this middle-aged white woman and a younger black man could possibly be discussing. I didn't care because I felt honored that he would share something so personal with me. Then I began to think that maybe he thought he knew me. Either way, we high-fived each other again and went about our shopping. Standing in line at the check-out, I noticed him in a line three lanes over. He smiled and waved and I gave him two thumbs up. His cheerful face crosses my mind every now and then. I'll keep him in my prayers and hope he can continue to enjoy his clean and sober life. Heaven knows he earned it!

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