Una called me from the waiting room after seeing her new doctor. She is having blood tests done and has to take antibiotics and lie in bed for two days with her leg up.
“She is a brilliant doctor,’ said Una happily. ‘She has two dogs of her own and is trilingual. And she is just like you, a recovering alcoholic. Isn’t that nice?’
Mary, gingerly: ‘Um, er, how do you know? Not the dogs, the recovering bit.’
Una: ‘She told me she gave up drinking wine and eating chocs over Christmas and actually lost weight! Lovely little chubby figure.’
Mary: ‘Um, that might not be alcoholism, you know.’
Una: ‘Oh that’s too bad! She didn’t look like an alcoholic, I must say. No bashed nose or that funny stagger and she didn’t reek of cheap hooch.’
Una: ‘Of course I didn’t tell her about you because I know all about anonymity and that you never tell anyone you’re an alcoholic, especially doctors. Just other alkies in your meetings, but nobody in the real world.’
Mary: ‘Wrong, wrong, wrong.’
And Una even reads the BB when her John Grishams are not to be found in the local library. Do the recovering alcoholic and the normal drinker ever understand the remotest thing about one another?