Sunday, October 28, 2007


I am probably too ill to be writing about a serious subject this morning, but I will try anyway. I have bronchitis and I am not feeling too good. I will likely go back to bed after writing this - and then my son is coming over for dinner this afternoon. How normal does that sound?! And how wonderful! I don't think I will ever take his presence for granted again after that long 13 months of absence. By the way, he is doing well, he moved about a month ago to a lovely apartment just 2 miles away.

I called Daave yesterday to talk about some nonsense I needed to share with someone who doesn't know the person it was about... and then promptly realized how silly it was. Anyway, he was saying there were ONLY 23 birthdays at his home group last night. I was talking about the distribution of birthdays at the various groups I attend - and it solidified something that has been wandering around in my brain about one of my groups.

At my homegroup, we virtually adopt and take home and feed and bathe someone in their first year because the group is so established - anyone with under 10 years is considered a newcomer. I am exaggerating slightly, but you get the point.

At another group I attend, there are plenty of birthdays. There is a distribution of people between 35 years and one year. And then there are those who are in their first year, earnestly trying to stay sober. Sometimes they slip, mostly they stay sober.

However, the group I am concerned about has mostly newcomers. At first I loved the group because, well, it has mostly newcomers. It is exhilarating to attend meetings there - they remind me of my homegroup when I got sober... we were all new together. The difference is, most of us stayed sober . After attending the mostly newcomers group for a little over a year, I realize that it is the same group of people who are perennial newcomers. They just "keep comin' back," which is better than dying. However, maybe someone could stress to them that they might try coming back and not drinking!

There are a couple of people who are the self-appointed "old-timers" of this group - they have between ten and fifteen years of sobriety. They sponsor a lot of the slippers. They sit back with beneficent smiles on their faces as they watch the suffering of the masses at the meetings. When someone (like me) comes in and suggests that the newcomers try something like "take the cotton out of your ears and put it in your mouth," and listen and try to learn something - the nice old-timers get annoyed with me. They don't believe in being confrontational and non-supportive to the newcomers.

Well, how nice is it to let someone kill themselves before your eyes? How responsible is it to sit there with a simple life-saving answer, and not fully share it with someone who is dying?

I thank God for the nasty mean people who were around when I got sober. They told me "shut the f*** up, you don't know anything." I am not kidding. When I went to one and whined that I felt like drinking, he handed me a dollar bill - when I asked him what it was for, he said "for your first drink." They used to say such charming things as "Sympathy is in the dictionary - between shit and syphilis." Did I fall in love with these people? Heck no! Did I listen to them? Yes! They were sober and I was not! I wanted to be sober! No one had to convince me of that.
Somehow I never got the idea that it would be OK for me to have a little drink and then just come on back to a meeting. It was stressed to me that if I am alcoholic (which I am) I might never make it back to a meeting. I might not live through my next drunk. And once I take a drink, I am not able to stop drinking on my own! They used to say things like "I know I have another drunk in me, but I don't know if I have another sobering up."

I don't think being endlessly kind to slippers is that good for them. I think we might just be killing them with kindness.

If you alcoholic and you are done drinking, please, please stick around. It gets better. You get better, if you are willing to do a few simple things.

"Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he can get well regardless of anyone. The only condition is that he trust in God and clean house." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 98


Scott W said...

I agree. Often the emphasis is just on keep coming back, not you might want to stay because you might not MAKE IT BACK.

I used to hear someone say he knew a couple that were entering rehab on Monday and decided the weekend before to give it one last hurrah. They died. They never made it to rehab.

Great post MC!

Pam said...

First and foremost..with as much cooking as you do, please make yourself some good chicken soup with lots of pepper..OK?
Put Vicks on you neck, and wrap a cotten rag (cut a T shirt) around your neck to hold the heat in.
Take Ibuprophen every 4 hours no matter how you feel.
OK...I'm through little wilted cherry blossom.
My experience with groups where they have lots of a group that throws around the word "powerless" too much. I like to share about "powerlessness" being a {pre-program] word. Powerless being mentioned only ONE time in the 1st 164 pages of our beautiful book.
I'm NOT powerless...I have a sufficient substitute for alcohol (GOD).
I the newcomer how to get that power in their lives instead of telling them they are powerless all the time.

Banana Girl said...

You said exactly what I needed to read this morning to calm the irritation I was feeling over an issue. I will write to you later about it. Thanks for the serenity sistah, and yes, Chicken in the soup rather than the chandelier!


lash505 said...

take care of yourself and how true.. thanks

Mark said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!

I'm more than happy when a returnee is at a meeting with me and knows that I'm not going to offer him congratulations for making it through a night at a drinking party. It isn't anything to brag about!

I've heard some tell them it took courage to come back - what hogwash! If they're blessed with fear and desperation they'll be back. If not, they might die.

It is irresponsible to hold the toolkit and not lay it out for them...


kel said...

I think you are wonderful and this was an incredibly inspirational post. I love how honest you can be, even feeling so under the weather. Please take car of yourself!!