I just got home from breakfast, after a meeting of my old home group. It is the first time I have made it up there in 2007! I really needed to be there this morning. Once again, I sat and looked around the room at all of the people who I have known for so long. People who know my story from day 1. Day 1. It was my friend Janet's 27th birthday (yes, 27 years sober.) It was nice to see that everyone who shared talked about what a pain in the ass she is, how difficult to get along with she is, and some folks even called her a bitch. But no one denied that she is sober, has been for a long time, is an absolute miracle, and has helped a lot of people over the years. I am glad that we can talk like this to each other. I am really, really glad.
Yesterday I did run my 10 miles and it actually felt really good. I managed to have a full day after the run too, which was nice because the big runs tend to wipe me out. Maybe all this training is actually working.
Last night was my 6:30 a.m. group's monthly Night Watch. It was at Jack's house. Jack was celebrating 34 years of sobriety. A lot, a lot, a lot of people showed up at his house. It was a nice event. After that, I went over to someone else's house and he went out on a limb and told me that my cussing really detracts from my message at meetings. He also told me that I probably share a bit too much personal stuff in meetings. I told him that I appreciate him telling me this stuff, because that is what friends are for - especially friends in this fellowship. I would truly like to stop cussing because I cuss like a sailor and I think it IS detracting from my message. I would not, however, like to stop sharing personal stuff in meetings because I can't tell you how many times I have realized that it was the hand of God that had me say something that seemed maybe wacky in a meeting. Then I later find out that it was something someone else (usually a new woman) needed to hear. It is not about ME and sounding good, and looking good, and protecting my precious image... it is about carrying the message to the alcoholic who still suffers. And furthermore, no one has to agree with me on this one. My sponsor does and that is all that matters to me.
But I felt bad. I really like the man who told me these things and I really respect him. I cried. I really cried. When I woke up this morning, I realized that I needed to drive across town and be with my "peeps". Thank God I got to sit with Thomas and Richard and Jim at breakfast. I asked them about this stuff, and then I listened. I have known them since I got sober. They have been sober longer than me, and I respect them. They, of course, think the guy who told me this stuff is full of s***. They wondered why he is so concerned with what I am doing in meetings... I know the answer to that, but it isn't important.
Anyway, as I sat there, I realized that part of the problem is the fact that my sobriety is bimodal. For my first ten years, I was pretty dysfunctional. I was staying sober, living from hand to mouth, living a pretty immoral life, not involved in my church, pretty difficult to get along with... hell, I was known to throw coffee at people in fits of rage at meetings, and as you know, I once beat up a clown for God's sake! BUT, and this is a BIG BUT, I did stay sober. And after about 10 years, 10 years of working the steps on an annual basis, my life really changed. I went back to school. I went back to church. I got a job that I still have. I went from being a punk to being a respected member of my community.
The people on THIS side of town know me only as the "respectable" woman they have never seen angry or in a rage. They have never known me to sleep around because I don't do that anymore. They have never known the unemployed, unemployable totally dysfunctional woman that I was. I think their expectations of me may be a little bit high.
And that is OK. They can learn how to deal with expectations. I am very clear on the fact that my feet are made of clay. I am fully fallible alcoholic! And I am sober by the Grace of God today. And for that I am grateful!
"We hope no one will consider these self-revealing accounts in bad taste. Our hope is that many alcoholic men and women, desperately in need, will see these pages, and we believe that it is only by fully disclosing ourselves and our problems that they will be persuaded to say, 'Yes, I am one of them too; I must have this thing.'" -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 29