CREDOS : Alcoholism — II

William Alexander

These failures and betrayals haunted me, and they never loomed larger than when the sky began to darken and I was alone in my tiny two rooms on East Seventy-seventh Street. I felt mocked by the happy couples I saw on the street and in meetings.

Today I know that if it had not been those events, there would have been others. My psyche was torn adrift. I could not think clear. The world was not familiar and there seemed nothing to hold on to but the rawest wounds of the recent past. I needed peace, if only for a few moments, and didn’t know how to find it. I couldn’t pray then because the word God stuck in my throat, and I knew nothing useful about meditation at the time. I often went to a late meeting on Seventy-ninth Street and then just wandered Manhattan for hours until I thought I was tired enough to sleep for at least a few hours in the night.

One evening, late in November of 1984, I had finished dinner and was getting ready to wash the pans and dishes heaped up in the kitchen. The little sink was full of hot water and soap bubbles. The light from the window onto the air shaft was falling across the bubbles, and I noticed the sheen and play of multiple colours there. I watched for a moment or two and then set out, very consciously, to wash the dishes in a different way from that to which I was accustomed to washing them. I piled the dirty dishes, pots, and silverware on the kitchen table, only a foot or so behind me.