I knew it as I opened the door and saw them all there, family, friends, a few that I have not seen in some time. They did not shout “Surprise” because my birthday was well over a month ago, instead they starred at me, some – I thought – with some empathy, or maybe just pity, others with an intense look, as if to scold me, each trying to find a sense, an explanation for the moment.
Not my first time joining but this time the intervention was meant for me. I decided to break the ice and the steps, shy, one after the other, momentary leader, advanced me in the middle of the group. The words that followed, of advice, memories, tears, I took it all. But as the day came to an end, I knew that what was in front of me, hard as it was, I had to deal with it by myself, I just had to.. If not now..
Like any addict, I have battled my demons for years, whose number gets lost, unwanted. But somehow I feel that this time, now, I have to go through, all the way through. Two days later, I’m opening the door of a school and only moments after I’m in the gym hall. It’s semi-dark and in the middle a bunch of chairs sit in a circle. I too sit on one and look around me. Men and women of all ages, well dressed, with a certain distinction in their features, eyes that have seen the pain, the joy, the impedance mismatch of this damned world, wait in silence.
Who wants to talk? The moderator is a mild, young man, and you can sense from his voice the lack of his experience, but well-intended emotions get through as well.
A hand, long, bony hand starts to rise for a moment that seems for ever.
My name is Elijah and I’m a writer. I’ve been clean for a hundred and seventeen days.
People clap and cheer.
Elijah continues proud: Clean and myself!
It’s a Tuesday and this is my first meeting at MIA (Multiple Identities Anonymous) ready to confront my demons. The demons of creativity who are steeling my sleep.
On Thursday I have my fifth meeting at the airport for the other group, where I have voluntarily decided to join – the TSA (Too Serious Anonymous). We try to tell jokes. And they mostly end with tears. It’s hard, heart breaking.