As part of my Treating Chemical Dependency class, we are tasked to go to AA meetings or NA meetings, so, having been to one in Hawaii, I decided that I would look for some while we were here on the mainland. And where better to do it than Las Vegas? I spent some time on the LV Central Office site to find an appropriately timed meeting that would allow me an experience here, and not interfere with the things that Wayne and I were doing.
The origins of Alcoholics Anonymous started with the Oxford Group, practiced a formula of self-improvement by performing self-inventory, admitting wrongs, making amends, using prayer and meditation, and carrying the message to others. Carl Jung referred Rowland H to the group in the early 1930s, and Rowland later introduced fellow Vermonter Edwin ("Ebby") T. to the group, and the two men along with several others were finally able to keep from drinking by practicing the Oxford Group principles. One of Ebby's schoolmate friends from Vermont was Bill W., a golden boy on Wall Street, enjoying success and power as a stockbroker, which was ruined by continuous and chronic alcoholism. He had sought medical treatment at Towns Hospital in Manhattan, but he was still drinking. Bill was, at first, unconvinced by Ebby's story of transformation and the claims of the Oxford Group, but after again landing in Towns hospital for treatment, Bill stated underwent a powerful spiritual experience unlike any he had ever known. His depression and despair were lifted, and he felt free and at peace. He stopped drinking, and worked the rest of his life to bring that freedom and peace to other alcoholics. The roots of Alcoholics Anonymous (also known as Friends of Bill) were planted. From there, AA has spread globally, and there are millions who attend meetings daily, weekly, monthly, to gain strength from their fellow addicts, and to help those newly struggling with relapses or initial sobriety.
I cannot say that I subscribe to the religious aspect of the program, but the belief that you need to have faith, rely on friends and mentors, make amends, and just live the life one day at a time knowing that you have help should you slip is a good thing. And that being said, I really, really enjoyed being invited in by this group today, and listening to them share. They came across all walks of life, and were filled with gratefulness, humility and humanity. We should all be like that. I am seeing, that unlike some of the meetings in Hawaii where participants are only there as part of parole, these folks really wanted to be there. And it works.
After the meeting, I walked down from the Riviera to the Aria to meet Wayne for lunch at Social House, where we had an awesome Japanese style 3 course lunch, $50 off courtesy of New York New York. It was totally awesome! Back to the hotel we went, I worked on this blog and some school work, and then we collapsed into naptime for a while. Dinner was later, this time in the Cosmopolitan, at the Wicked Spoon. I got to talk with my high school friend Eileen on the way over - we will be seeing her in San Francisco, and I think the last time we saw each other was at our friend Elizabeth’s wedding. Long time coming!
There was a moment of angst getting to the Spoon - we passed by Holstein’s, where the most enticing aroma of hamburgers I have smelled in two weeks wafted across the hallway. And it followed us for a while. The buffet, although pricey, was worth every penny paid. There was so much wonderful food, and even though I had to avoid the pork, steak, lamb and veal, there was enough of everything else to make it worth while. And, get this, Wayne and I both indulged in dessert - limoncello gelato for both, sweet potato flan for Wayne, and chocolate mousse with fresh berries for me. You have to try it if you are here!
Dinner was followed by one of the strangest theatrical events I have ever seen, Zarkana, which is the newest Cirque du Soleil permanent show in Vegas. It’s at the Aria, and, in theory, follows a storyline. The show has been marketed as a reinvention of the variety show, with a story about a magician in an abandoned theatre who has lost his love and his magic. As he cries and begs the gods for her return, he is plunged into a world inhabited by surreal creatures. The title Zarkana is a fusion of the words "bizarre" and "arcana", which refers to the strange aura and atmosphere of this place and its inhabitants. After surviving attempts at seduction by various strange, mutant women, Zark the magician is reunited with his lady love/assistant.
Hocus and Pocus, the clowns, were probably the best part of the show, and their antics even got Wayne to giggle.
Then it was back to New York New York to get ready for sleep - tomorrow it is off to MacWorld/iWorld in San Francisco! Quite a memorable day.