There was scarcely any furniture in the big room: only ten chairs arranged in circle. The room was silent. It was like frozen. Bud suddenly the door creaked and a plain man wearing a shabby sweater entered the room. Later, eight other men came into the room. They sat down on the chairs in silence.
When a Moderator entered the clock struck eleven, punctuality was his weakness… The Moderator sat down on his chair and said: “Let’s start. Would you like to be the first?” and he nodded toward the plain man. He shivered, but nodded in agreement.
“Hi, I’m Andrey and I’m an alcoholic”, he said in a low voice without looking up. “Hi, Andrey”, replied the group.
“Would you like to tell us anything?” the Moderator said softly.
“I’m 43 and I drink for 24 years…”, Andrey began. “It all started as a joke or game and I was just tagging along. I didn’t drink before army. I had no thought to spare for it indeed, life in a small town taught me that far greater efforts must be made if I want to get out of here. I was studying like a madman. I understood that my dream – to become a doctor – requires wider knowledge and practice. After graduation, I was enlisted. I dreamed to enter a medical university and change my life for the better.
In the army it was difficult and easy at the same time. It was psychologically difficult because of hazing, stupid orders, lack of familiar faces. But it was easy to lose yourself in that mechanic rhythm and grow dull. I the army I drunk vodka for the first time. It looked very masculine, because vodka blurred all boundaries and put us at ease. Sometimes we were captured and punished, sometimes we weren’t, but vodka became an inevitable part of our life.
After the army I decided to find a job. At that moment I was considering myself as an experienced man and I didn’t want to become one of those young and unfledged students. It seemed that I forgot about my dream for some time… But, as I said, far greater efforts must be made if you want to change your life in a small town. Eventually I lost myself into drinking. Although I had a job, wife, child, I was happy only when I was drunk. It helped me to forget that I will never become a doctor, that I shouldn’t stop, I have to run to my dream. My wife is very patient woman; she forgave me all my lapses, made me go to see a doctor, so here I am. This is my last chance. She said she can’t trust me and she doesn’t want to forgive me anymore. And suddenly I understood that I will die without her, so I agreed to come here. I’m not sure that I can give up drinking, but I want to try to do it for her. At least to try…”
Andrey finished his story without looking up.
“Who else wants to tell us his or her story?”, the Moderator asked.
A woman who could have been any age at all, as it always happens with alcoholics, got up from her chair.
“Hi, I’m Oksana and I’m an alcoholic”, she said.
The group greeted her and waited for a story. A tear glistened on Oksana’s eyelashes.
“I’m an alcoholic and I’ve exchanged my daughter for drink”, the woman said. “My story is a typical story of an alcoholic. I was in a bad company, was doing wrong things and going wrong way. And despite the fact that I was born in a good family, I behaved like a child from a disadvantaged family. I was young and stupid. I drunk and felt quite happy. My parents found me in the backstreets, washed, cleaned and returned me home, but in a few days it happened again. I thought they didn’t understand me, I didn’t notice how they were getting old because of me, and one day they died.
Of course, there were many different men, three abortions and finally unplanned pregnancy. I think those are companions of any women suffering with alcohol addiction… But I decided to give birth to my child.
Maybe it was my chance to change everything, or maybe I was just scared to do the fourth abortion.
It’s hard to say now. At first I wasn’t drinking for my kid’s sake. But it didn’t last long. In the fifth month of pregnancy I returned to my usual way of life. I wasn’t stupid; I just didn’t want to think about my own life, it is easier to drift helplessly down. The child didn’t survive. In the seventh month I felt pain in my stomach, there were ambulance and injections. I was told that my child had died. My girl. At that moment I felt nothing, but later I realized that my life is empty. I ruined my life with my own hands and killed my own daughter.
But I was drinking to forget about everything. Now I don’t drink for four months. I don’t want to be a reason of someone’s death anymore…”
She looked around and took her place.
“Thank you, Oksana”, the Moderator said. “Who else wants to tell his story?” Other people were telling their stories. The Moderator listened intently…
And at the same time, a sunburned man was sitting on a beach, located in three thousand kilometres from the meeting of alcoholics. When he saw a servant, he called for a glass of juice. The man never drank alcohol, only juices and fresh water.
Sipping his juice, he was thinking about his business. As long as people drink alcohol, his business will be successful. And he will have money, and servants, and juices. Finally, only the strongest survive…
The man didn’t know and didn’t want to know any stories from the AA meeting. He didn’t care about people, he was think only about his alcohol business…
“Another glass of juice and then I’ll have a meeting where we can discuss the first weapon supplies…”
Recently one man offered him to become partners. That man didn’t care about soldiers who will be killed by his weapon, their families and psychological rehabilitations. It is only an investment… Only the strongest survive…