Friday, July 25, 2008

The Morning After

I wish I had written this post last night or this morning before the meeting.  I had such a nice birthday yesterday.  The meeting was wonderful.  I got a chip with "XXIV" on it - 24 looks pretty cool in roman numerals.  I had a lovely day at work, followed by a lovely evening spent with my recovering daughter.  All in all, it was just a nice, low-key celebration of the gift that God, in his mercy, has bestowed on me.

Then this morning I went to a meeting because I thought I knew who the speaker was.  I thought it was a dear old friend of mine who has been sober about 20 years.  So, even though I have taken the day off of work to try to recover from my car accident, I got myself up at 5:00 a.m. to go to this meeting.  When the meeting started and C. wasn't there, I was puzzled.  But when the chair person gleefully announced that she was thrilled that a man who is now sober for 10 days would be speaking this morning.  I was horrified and my face showed it.  He got up and said "Do you have a problem with that Mary?"    I just said "no", but I should have said "yes," because I DO have a problem with that.  

He talked like a guy who has been sober for 10 days (but has been around our group for a couple of years).  Like a guy who has pancreatitis.  Like a guy who has aged 10 years in the last 2 years.  Like a guy who knows he needs to get sober, but still is full of good ideas.  And we listened to him for 40 minutes.  The format is that the speaker shares for about 20 minutes and then the meeting opens up and rest of the people share.  Well, for the remaining 20 minutes of this meeting, people picked on him.    And some of them gushingly declared how helpful it was to hear the disease.  How some people will never get sober.  It was fucking horrifying.  I am sorry for the language, but it was awful.

He just called while I was writing this and we had a nice chat.  He is very upset as well he should be.  He said he should have declined.  I told him that I didn't think someone with 10 days should be put into the position to make that kind of decision.  And he shouldn't have been put on the spot like that.  It was and is unfair to him.   

I am sure it will all turn out the way it is supposed to be, but I wish we had a stronger ethic about what is OK for a meeting and what isn't.   I wish our culture in AA was such that a person who picks a speaker would know that it isn't OK to use someone to show us what the disease looks like.  It is not fair to him.  He is wounded and vulnerable and sick as shit and this wasn't good for him.  

Oh hell, what do I know?  

I know that I was blessed to be desperate when I got to Alcoholics Anonymous and that I am grateful that I have always been grateful.  Where do these things come from?  They are not self-generating.  I cannot generate gratitude or desperation.  I believe they are gifts from a Loving God.  


Kathy Lynne said...

He is lucky to have you. That he felt comfortable enough to call you. Just a thought, noone told me when I was about 45 days sober and charged with getting a speaker that one should have at least 90 days before speaking. So in all my wisdom I asked this guy from my morning group who had just come out of rehab after relapsing. I thought I would be helping him. I really did. And he didn't want to say no cause they tell us not to. He was pretty vulnerable. I didn't ask my sponser about it ahead of time as I should have. I'm not sure I even had a sponser yet. Thankfully his sponser stepped in and told him no way. I was horrified. Thinking now I had harmed him. But I learned a great deal from the experience and when he got his 90 days he did speak and we're both still sober today so I guess it turned out okay.

One Drunk to Another said...

Sadly, I think that ethic has gone away as sponsorship has been watered down. Filling the rooms with court-ordered folks who don't know why they need a sponsor, and don't use them, kills the opportunity for Good Orderly Direction in most cases. What I'm trying to say is that MY sponsor would never have let me do that as a chairperson, and thus taught me to pick my leads ahead of time, call them to remind them, and make sure they had a "quality" message of sobriety, not alcoholism.

I've watched this train wreck before. Thank God you were able to communicate with this poor person about it.

Syd said...

It sounds as if he had little to no recovery to talk about. I don't think that message is particularly helpful to anyone. I would suppose that most people realize what their "sick" times were like. It's the message of recovery that is important.

dAAve said...

I agree with you, birthday girl.

♥Shann♥ said...

I am glad he called you after, and you could help him. I get my XV tonight... YAY!

Shay said...

Wow, what a mistake that was. That's great that he was able to call you and talk about it though. Congrats on 24 years :)

Zane-nawwaa said...

Hay day after 24 years ghurl. In So Cal. the usual rule for a 45 min speaker was at least 5 years continuous sobriety. I miss that here, but it is not my job to change it. I have heard some good speakers with less than five years. And some awful ones with 90 days to to double digit.

AlkySeltzer said...

MC, you wrote: "Oh hell, what do I know?" ...and I do not ever wish to read those words again on your blog -grin- but I sort of mean it! You DO know, and I know,. and MOST of us on here know--some things, because God has allowed us to know...we became ready and willing and the "teacher has appeared".

My blog tomorrow will--well, MIGHT is a better word!--touch on my experience yesterday with the same thing almost, as YOUR experience yesterday. More proof, that the same things which one of us experiences...we really ALL of us experience, more or less.

Thank you again for a terrific, worthy read. Finally today, I put mine up, but YOURS are so much more "thoughtful!", MC. I'm learning!

Steve E.

Scott W said...

I would say your Higher Power and his both conspired for you to be there. You knew better and he recognized it. You were also available to him because you had been there. Imagine if he were to have spoken and felt there were no one to talk to afterward. He might not have remained sober.

You were where you were supposed to be I reckon.

Anonymous said...

Around here the "unwrtten rule" is at least one year. I heard a great lead tonight and the guy started his story from the day before he came to AA. It lasted about 30 minites and was chocked full of great recovery! The thing he said that resonated with me was, "Dose'nt it feel great to feel great?" God knows we all know how to get drunk.

Nigel, North Wales said...

I agree with your posting and all that it said.
I have had one hell of a week with finding out a loved one has Cancer of the stomach, thank God for AA , the 12 steps and sobriety is all I can say.
I went to about 15 meeting while on holiday in Florida and remember well a member sharing on the same subject of family illness.
I can not bear to think what I would have been like without sobriety this week.

indistinct said...

Lots of wisdom in your post. Experience shines through. And in all the comments that followed. I'm glad I stumbled through here today.

Thank you

hpydstny said...

I have been a voyeur on your website for nearly 8 months now and look forward to reading your journey of being a sober member of AA each day. It is your sharing and giving of your thoughts which continue to enlighten me on my journey. I have always spoke of me learning to have a relationship with my higher power from my very first day of AA. On Aug 2, God willing I will have 2 years of continuous sobriety, and my Higher Power speaking through people like yourself, members in rooms and those who may never make it back which continue to guides me through each day. I'm grateful for your honest sharing of the day to day items as well as your continual reminder of the "non" watered down version of AA". If someone had told me to just come back if I drink again, I may be DEAD. But they didn't, they simply said STAY, PRAY, and live in today. So I continue to do so. Thank you for your blog, your service and you!
God Bless.