Thursday, January 18, 2007

Lessons/confessions

I have really been struggling with something lately. I have written about it a teeny bit, but not much. Yesterday I had a bit of an awakening, so I am going to write about it.

I have been going to a 5:30 meeting for several months. I had never been to it prior to August of this year. It used to be a smoking meeting and I didn't go to smoking meetings. I love this group. There are so many new people there. There are a lot of women there. There are some oldtimers there too. However, as I have sat there night after night for months, I have noticed something. The people with more than 20 years of sobriety give speeches every night. They have canned spiels that they give every single day. They have tag lines that they throw in the beginning of their share and at the end of their shares. This stuff seems to have a lot of appeal to people newer in sobriety because I think it sounds good. They talk about what happened 20 years ago, but not what is happening today.

OK, that is enough of me taking their inventory. That is their business. MY problem is that I have begun to have doubts about what I am doing. I share honestly, from my heart, about what is going on today, and it doesn't always look so good. I am going through challenges right now, as you all know, with my son in Iraq, my daughter on meth, my grandchildren in flux, my son-in-law in rehab, my finances beginning to buckle under the strain of trying to do what I can for my grandchildren, etc. I talk about this stuff. I am not sober FOR YOU. I am sober for me. I must help other drunks if I expect to stay sober, but I am clear on the fact that we are all only sober 24 hours at a time. I cannot stay sober today on yesterday's sobriety, and I have not graduated to some higher level of "recovery" where all I do is tell you what to do. I am here to stay sober. Me, Mary Christine, the terrible, terrible drunk. Sober (for 22 and a half years) only by the Grace of a loving God. Not by all of my tremendous "work".

So, of late, I have decided to shut my mouth in meetings. And I sit there and feel like I don't belong. And that I haven't got a clue because I haven't got a canned speech, etc. This is all self-centered bullshit. This is my EGO at its finest.

Last night, as I was slinking out of the meeting, feeling like I have lost my way - honestly - I am that dramatic... a newer woman came over to me and said this. "I am always so happy to see you here because I know I am going to hear you laugh. I love to hear your laugh, it makes me laugh no matter now bad I am feeling. I love it when you share in the meeting because you are always so honest..." After I expressed my gratitude to this woman, another woman came over and told me basically the same thing. They told me they are so grateful that I started coming to that meeting and that I am an "integral part of the group." And then I realized that I just need to be willing to share what ever gifts God has given me. It is not up to me to judge them. And it certainly isn't up to me to decide that I have nothing to offer because I haven't graduated to Sobriety Sainthood.

That's it. I feel better. Thanks for listening, and caring. I really appreciate you bloggers too. I wish my ego wasn't out to get me, but it is. It is what tells me that I am separate from you and that I am not good enough, or that I am too good, but that I am not a part of, I am apart from.

"In my view, we of this world are pupils in a great school of life. It is intended that we try to grow, and that we try to help our fellow travelers to grow in the kind of love that makes no demands. In short, we try to move toward the image and likeness of God as we understand Him." -- As Bill Sees It, p. 306

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Beautiful. From the 12 & 12, pg. 124, at the end of Step 12, "True leadership, we find, depends upon able example and not upon vain displays of power or glory." You live the deal and walk behind the words you write (and speak), it's time to hold your face up to the light. I would love to hear you share one night.

And by the way, I would vote for cannonization!

Christine said...

Oh gosh thanks for saying all that!

I could so relate to speaking about my today and not ''sounding'' good in meetings and then feeling so alone here

But those newcomers! Those who are listening and been affected by the recovery they hear in us. How awesome to get that Godshot and have them tell you just what you need to hear when you were "slinking" out---I can so relate to that too

What a wonder that I should know you. I get so much from your honesty and warm caring heart.

Thank you for becoming for me someone I can count on.

Anonymous said...

Wow. I always thought you had something to say, Mary Christine!

336 days sober here.

Willa

Anonymous said...

Well, obviously you're a Bronocs fan. That proves there's no cure for alcoholism.

JOKING!!

A friend of mine is allowing himself to become more "apart from" simply because he has now worked the steps with his sponsor and isn't progressing as quickly as those first few months. I've tried to explain that he's in this for the long run, not for what we can get out of it every minute. (besides staying sober, of course)

recoveryroad said...

"The people with more than 20 years of sobriety give speeches every night. They have canned spiels that they give every single day. They have tag lines that they throw in the beginning of their share and at the end of their shares. This stuff seems to have a lot of appeal to people newer in sobriety because I think it sounds good. They talk about what happened 20 years ago, but not what is happening today."

I've noticed this.

I accept it for what it is. I'm sure people get tired of hearing me share about my health etc,.

Anyone continuously sober for twenty years may have something to say which might just save my life one day.

It can be boring though... lol.

:-)

Anonymous said...

Well, obviously you're a Bronocs fan. That proves there's no cure for alcoholism.

JOKING!!

A friend of mine is allowing himself to become more "apart from" simply because he has now worked the steps with his sponsor and isn't progressing as quickly as those first few months. I've tried to explain that he's in this for the long run, not for what we can get out of it every minute. (besides staying sober, of course)

Anonymous said...

Well, obviously you're a Bronocs fan. That proves there's no cure for alcoholism.

JOKING!!

A friend of mine is allowing himself to become more "apart from" simply because he has now worked the steps with his sponsor and isn't progressing as quickly as those first few months. I've tried to explain that he's in this for the long run, not for what we can get out of it every minute. (besides staying sober, of course)

Anonymous said...

Nicely put....I am going through a similar deal. Except I have too much to say at meetings. Choosing not to. Choosing to listen to learn. This is very tough for me. To top it off I usually have to leave before the meetings ends in order to get my kid to school on time, so I don't get to talk to people after the meeting. AND the biggie that I am new to all these meetings.

Shannon said...

OMG I am sooo frsutrated with blogger today!
I can not leave a comment on Scotts blog and I just typed out a big long message for you... Ok

I wanted to say thank you for sharing this because I am going through the same thing at my home group and have gone through this before and have a hard time feeling like I belong and I end up not going and finding another place... OUr elders seemed to of figured it all out too.. and I like you am still living and working and have challanges and it is not pretty all the time either. I am so grateful you shared this today. It makes me realize that I too have been a bit EGOTISTICAL and should just be me. No matter what I love you MC
I hope you ahve a really good day

Anonymous said...

We must all go to your meeting MC!
I think when old timers share the same spiel nightly, it's cause that's the way they have found to stay sober.....like...it's all they have to give, but they're glad to have somthing.
I think meetings get stale sometimes, and they need a Mary Christine to come in and kick some ass with her honesty, and willingness.

Anonymous said...

you keep on keeping it real MC.. I can so relate to what you are saying. I think it is important that we speak to the newcomer about how we do it one day at a time when IT AIN"T ALWAYS EASY!!! They need to know about the "no matter what" part of this program.... God Bless your honesty.

Trudging said...

When you have been around for a while, it is easy to fall into that canned spiel thing. Lately I have been switching up my meeting because I was falling into that pattern. Thanks for the reminder

Anonymous said...

You are one strong lady! Despite all that is going on in your family it is truly beautiful that you can still laugh and stay sober no matter what.

I have a friend that texted me yesterday, "I want to die." Her life is not that bad, the court ordered her back into sober living. It could be worse. I read your post and know life can be lived without relapsing. Thank you for sharing yourself with us.

Sober @ Sundown said...

It is important to be real.

BigSkymAAck said...

We really are better off speaking about what is going on with us today. I have as well gone top meetings and just kept quiet felt a need to listen. The hard part is getting a balance in all of that. I like hearing what people are saying from their hearts.
FAEA

Anonymous said...

You know... I used to feel like you did about people with "canned speeches". But I have to remember, we all have something to offer. Maybe they DO sound good to newcomers and can offer what the newcomers need to hear.

But people like me, with 19 years, NEED to hear people like you sharing how you are staying sober TODAY. I know when I hear someone who is REAL.

I think the best ones can combine both - the knowledge of the literature, the 'taglines' AND make it real by sharing of themselves and where they are currently. That is why my sponsor calls 'having an experience' with the literature and sharing it.

I hope you won't stop yourself from speaking up. :)