November 17, 1998
Paging David


Working on it. Choosing my words as carefully as a teenage girl choosing earrings for her Prom. It's gonna take a little while. (And you know the drill: click here to relive the wonder and splendor of that last entry)...


Later That Evening  ...

I know what you're thinking.

You're thinking, "Terri, you idiot! Don't you even READ your own damn website?? Here the ink is barely dry on 'The Story: Boiled Down Into Neat, Tidy, Easily-Digestible Chunks' ... and now you're blithely telling us you're jumping into another doomed dumbshit relationship??"

(Or else you're saying, "Secra, you conniving evil man-stealing bitch! Do everybody a favor and sleep on the railroad tracks tonight!")

Either way: I know how it looks.

It looks like I'm jumping into another doomed dumbshit relationship ... and furthermore, it looks like I set out to make this *happen* ... and no amount of tap-dancing on the website is going to change the way it looks.  I take full ownership of that fact, and I'm merely going to stick to what I've been doing all along: telling the story, as it happens. 

You draw your own conclusions.

For the record: this did not happen overnight. I have known David for three and a half years online, and we have enjoyed a constantly-evolving friendship all that time. In the early days he was the drunk opinionated loudmouth in the Baby Boomer Chat Room, and I was the drunk self-absorbed loudmouth in the same chat room, and we started out talking about music. Over the years we talked about other stuff, too, but music was always at the root of it ...

... until this past summer, when all of a sudden issues of sobriety became the basis of our friendship. Sober since December 1996, he literally walked me through the darkest days of my life, when I decided that I didn't want to fall down and throw up on stuff and wake up feeling like something crawled into my brain and died in the middle of the night anymore. He gave me his pager number, and I was instructed to page him at any time of the day or night ... any time I felt the urge to drink.

I resisted it at first. I knew I had a problem. I knew I was an alc ... alco ... alcoh ...

... I knew I had drinking problem ...

... but the idea of paging someone and saying "Yo! I'm standing at a phone booth outside Thriftway, and my bus is late, and I've got thirty-one bucks in my pocket, and I need you to talk me out of walking in there and buying a BOX of WINE" ... well, that seemed pretty embarrassing, to say the least.  And he knew that, and he kept urging the pager number on me anyway, and he would call me in the evenings to make sure I was OK, even when I was avoiding him because I didn't want to talk about my "problem" ...

... and eventually all of his talk about taking responsibility for your life and your health and your actions started to sink in, and I started to actually LISTEN to him when he promised I would feel "better" eventually -- "It might take years," he said, "But I guarantee you, you will feel much better" ... and even though a tiny part of me was still resisting the idea that I could be an alcoho ... alcoholi ...

...  a person with a drinking problem ...  

... I also knew that the idea of feeling better was enormously appealing. And after awhile, that started to happen. It was an excruciating process, but it started to happen.

Interestingly enough -- you people were here to witness it happen. You just didn't KNOW that's what was happening.  Remember when I had the "Steamroller Flu," a couple of months back? That was withdrawal, dear ones. As tortuous and horrifying a physical process as any I've ever endured, short of childbirth. I couldn't write about it honestly at the time because I was terrified that my boss and my co-workers were reading my website ... so I called in sick and told my boss that I had "the flu," and I told all of you the same sad dishonest story, when in fact what was really going on was that my body and brain felt like they were turning inside out from alcohol withdrawal.

And David was there for all of that via long-distance.

But the amazing thing is that it wasn't all about disease and dysfunction and dying. We talked about other stuff every night, as well. We laughed  --  a lot. We played music over the phone at each other.  All very innocent, very sweet, very fun. And through it all we constantly reassured each other that this "wasn't a romance," but rather a very important and life-affirming friendship. He was involved in a valid yet problematic long-distance online relationship, and I knew it. For obvious reasons, *I* was avoiding the idea of romance altogether, with anyone. We figured everything was UNDER CONTROL.

And for a long time  ...  it was.

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