The Downward Spiral

I’ve spent the better part of sixteen years, listening to people talk. In every meeting I attend, people talk, in one capacity or another. In one form or another. Short haul shares and the long haul, stand up there, and lay it all down share.

I don’t know if it is that I am listening in a different way than, before, because there was a before, I can say exists. Not sure if it is the company I am keeping lately, or the fact that people from different areas of the city are coming into Westmount to talk.

I told a story about the city, and the boroughs, and the invisible line that surrounds each of them, and how folks usually do not leave their designated area, that they either

  • A) Live in,
  • B) Drank in, or
  • C) Got sober in

Tonight, I heard another story. And I’ve noticed a commonality among groups of women who grew up in a particular area of Montreal, and drank, in that particular area as well.

That particular area, would be called the West Island. The Western most reaches of the Island of Montreal, outside the city, around the area where our airport is located.


Over the past few months, Numbers of women who grew up out there, drank out there, and eventually got sober out there, have been circulating in the Westmount, and Downtown Core of the city.

I can tell you from experience that, depending on where our young women grew up and became mature women, their drinking stories vary, in certain degrees. One could break it down to,

  • what each woman was drinking at the bitter end,
  • How hard they were drinking at the end,
  • Where they were living when they reached the bitter end, and
  • In what manner they found sobriety, or more to the point,
  • Where Sobriety Found Them.

I say all this in preface because I have said this before that, unlike the many men I know in the rooms, and their particular stories, Women’s Downward Spirals are terrible.

I’ve heard a number of women share since last fall, from the particular area, we call the West Island. And I’ve gotta say, we’ve heard some seriously tragic stories, with downward spirals that, listening to them transpire, you’d say to yourself as the words are coming out,

  • Damn … If she gets out of this one alive, she’d better get sober.
  • Or Damn, this downward spiral cannot get any worse, because there is no recovery out of the pit of hell, she’s worked her way into.
  • And finally, the number of jackpot situations that some of our women find themselves in,
  • Are so absolutely tragic and dangerous that,
  • They’ve got to come to at some point and figure out,
  • That Alcohol must be the problem…

I have my own tragic story about how I got to my last drink, and my story is lightweight, when I compare my tragedies with other people who sit in the same room that I do.

I was sitting next to a long sober woman I know well. And as tonight’s meeting came to a close, I leaned over to her and said … “What is it with West Island Women, that they have some of the most tragic downward spirals, I’ve ever heard in my life!”

I’ve been sitting here in our Thursday meeting just besides myself with how drastic our women took their lives and the lives of others, into their dangerous alcoholic hands.

The story begins and we are young and resilient. We grow up, and the drinking begins. That is where the boys and girls diverge. The boys go in one direction and the girls in the other. Our women have some serious drinking stories.

Listening to them talk, takes my breath away. Because I sit there and I listen to the progression of serious alcoholism, and how, in the end, we believe that

  • Life is the problem,
  • The boy is the problem,
  • Or the family is the problem,
  • But Alcohol,

Manageability and Powerlessness is common for the boys and the girls, the men and the women. Lately, it’s the women we’ve been listening to. And tonight, I heard another story, that went to the God’s Honest, Bitter End.

The kind of bitter end that we are holding our breath, saying to ourselves, dammit, if she hits one more serious jackpot, she’s a goner, or end up in prison, or better yet, DEAD.

And unbeknown to us, the MIRACLE finally happens.



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