So, I got to give my first talk today at church. It wasn't a regular meeting, though: It was a Fireside evening where investigators come and learn a little more about the church.
My topic was a brief background and a testimony of my conversion.
I was nervous, but I figured I would do okay. I had a few pages of note to make sure I said what I wanted to say, in the order I wanted to say it. I mean, seriously. who can't talk about themselves for five to seven minutes?
I didn't talk for five to seven minutes. I went on for almost half an hour. Apparently I do "blah, BLAH, blah."
I started with the standard opening: "Four score and seven years ago," then segued into the Shatner version of Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds. Seriously. I wanted to start out on a light note.
I followed with "My name is Arik and I'm an alcoholic," which got a few polite chuckles for what might have been a weak joke, if in bad taste. Only, it wasn't a joke. It is part of the centerpiece of my thesis: We make bad decisions and yet Heavenly Father still loves us: While we are rewarded by the Spirit for the difficult choices we make, we are also given forgiveness and absolution, a chance at redemption, for the mistakes we make, even when they are serious.
Alcoholism is suicide. Even if you come out, as I did, with nothing more than a slight tremor from the berve damage, you are killing yourself eight , nine, ten hours at a time. For those hours, I could be Not Me, which was what I wanted to be. It's still what I want to be, but I am trying to achieve that through prayerful living and more Godly choices now, instead of just drowning myself 8 ounces of vodka at a time. Yeah, my shots weren't from shot glasses, they were from tumblers.
I ended up staying and talking with people for almost forty minutes after the meeting. They were locking the doors behind me as I left. There are a lot of people like me in the church. The stake president is a convert just like me. There were a few alcoholics there, as well. It's nice to know I'm not alone. At least when I'm at church.
I asked my mom to come and hear me. She had other things to do. My kids were supposed to have a club meeting tonight, but it was cancelled. When they got home, I asked if they wanted to come and hear me, but my wife had more important things planned. I guess The Simpsons was coming on. (BTW: Number one thing no one has EVER said: "I'd love to come along, but the Pro Bowl is on tonight.")
I wish church was every day for eight hours. At least.
On a completely unrelated note, after Weight Watchers on Saturday, I heard a Porterhouse calling me and I ended up at Longhorn. I also had a coupon. (Ever notice the Weight Watchers store are always surrounded by restaurants? The one I go to is surrounded by them. And oddly, the next store over is a bird seed store (I know, right!?!) but every year the owner lets the Girl Scouts sell cookies in front of her store on Staurday mornings, which are the biggest meetings of the week. Evil.)
Anyway you know how "theme" type restaurants name their potties in cutesy names, like caballeros and damas at a Mexican place? Well, Longhorn names theirs "Bulls" and "Lambs." which is hilarious because the female of Bull isn't Lamb; it's Cow. Which would be hilarious: can you imagine telling your ladyfriend she needed to go to the Cow's room? Or should I say, your soon to be EX-ladyfriend?
And that Porterhouse? Tender and Delicious. Too bad you didn't come to Weight Watchers with me: I had plenty to share. And I would have appreciated the company.
P.S. I actually got to enjoy one of the few things about winter that doesn't totally suck: donuts in the church parking lot. Other than occasionally sledding and sometimes a really pretty morning after an ice storm. you can TOTALLY keep winter.