Monday, February 04, 2008

Hope

My pals Pammie and Scott both wrote about hope this morning. I thought I would too.

Pam wrote about her daughter wanting to hear something in a meeting that gives her hope. Not a bunch of people sitting around talking about the good old days. Projecting my own experience on this, and not really knowing what she was talking about, I will go with the concept of people talking about the good old days in AA, and not sharing about what the hell is going on in their lives.

It is the strangest thing to sit in a meeting and realize that the "old-timers" in the meeting are sober not as long as I am. They sit and puff up their chests and talk about " the old club," and "the old people" and the old events of 20 years ago. They talk about remembering other people's kids when they were little, and other people when they "came in." When this happens, I just try to keep my mouth shut. I am limited to sharing my OWN experience, strength, and hope. That's it.

I love to hear the drunkalogues. Unlike a lot of people, I love the drinking stories. It reminds us of why we bother to go to all these meetings!

But then I think we should move into - what happened, and what we are like now. We don't stop with what we were like in our first 90 days or year - and talk about that for the rest of our lives. My ex-husband used to have a little saying about people like that - he would say "He has a good year of sobriety - he has just repeated it for the last X number of years."

Sometimes I feel like a moron for sharing from my heart about what it is REALLY like for me today. I did not graduate from AA. Unlike many others with over 20 years of sobriety, I did not elevate to some higher form of recovery where I come to tell you all what to do. I am part of the fellowship of AA. Part of. Not above, not below. Just right in there with all of us.

There are those who love to hear from the old-timers who talk about the old days and never tell you that their marriage is falling apart, they are about to go bankrupt, and their kids hate them. I guess as long as they are helping someone, they playing an important role in our fellowship. But I would rather share my own true story. Some don't think that is hopeful - they fully expect to elevate to a higher life form after a number of years of sobriety.

I think the most hopeful thing I can say is: For over 23 years, no matter what has happened, good or bad, I have not found it necessary to take a drink of alcohol. Is there more than that? Yes. My life is very good today, many dreams have been realized in my life, and my life is very full. But am I just as sober if my life is falling apart and I am still not taking a drink? Yes. I had many years where my life was basically a nightmare, and I still did not take a drink - and that to me speaks volumes about the true hope of Alcoholics Anonymous.

5 comments:

dAAve said...

Have a great today.

Syd said...

I like the what happened and what we are like now, within the context of our experience. Too much dwelling on the past reminds me that recovery is a glimmer of hope. Al-Anon meetings are a bit different but I hear a lot of pain from people who are new. It reminds me of what it was like when I first came to a meeting. I needed to hear that I wasn't different from others.

Scott W said...

Old timers don't go on like that at Lambda, they know they can't get away with it I reckon. We don't dwell on the past a lot, that is good for me. Thanks so much for writing today, it goes into my research nicely. :-)

The Wisdom of the Rooms said...

Please see this awesome new book on the quotes and sayings learned in 12 step meetings: "The Wisdom of the Rooms" by Michael Z.

Pam said...

I think it's good to "shake up our sharing style" every once in a while. I thnk I just shook up mine too much. Some of the old timers never change their topics. I don't want to be like that...sometimes for me...I have to see it in another person, before I recognize it in myself.
I want to be the positive talker.