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.