Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Last Day of 2008

I love this shirt I got at the Houston Roundup. It is my favorite color! And it says SOBER on the back! I wear it to bed every night and it carries such wonderful memories of a wonderful weekend and some wonderful friends in Houston, TX.

I have since 2005 written a year end wrap-up here on my blog. I don't want to do that today. I could recap the deaths, the painful drama in the family, the athletic events, and the grueling training. It seems symmetrical to end the year this way. Start the year with a plan and end the year with an evaluation. I guess I did what I planned in 2008. It was good. Here is what is important to me: I started the year sober and ended the year sober, and didn't have a drink in between.

I met my new sponsee at the 5:30 meeting last night. It was insane. I was reminded of why I stopped going there. There was a drunk woman in the corner who did a running commentary throughout the meeting and talked several times for maybe a total of 15 minutes. Incoherent crying about how she needs to get sober. Someone finally told her that she got to talk once and didn't get to keep talking through the meeting. Another man pounded on the table and cussed about this. Then an elderly man started reading something -and God bless the chair of the meeting - he kindly but firmly told the man that we don't read anything that is not conference approved at that meeting. The elderly man didn't take kindly to that and started arguing with the chair. Then the angry man who had earlier pounded on the table, pounded on the table again and started swearing. He got up and threw his bottle of pop into the trash (from a distance, making a loud noise) and left the meeting, slamming the door. Oh, and then the crying drunk woman? She decided to leave the meeting - and 3 men followed her. Oh, and then another woman piped up and told the group that some people were allowed to cross talk and some weren't and she would talk when she wanted and "if you don't like it you can all get f****d." Charming.

Oh, there was a time when I would have loved this meeting! And there was a time when I would have felt that God had personally called me to infiltrate this group to provide some "stability" and maybe start talking about the Traditions.

But as it was, after the meeting, I walked to the front of the room and thanked the man who had chaired the meeting. He tried, he really did. He did as good a job as he could. I sat with my sponsee and told her about the First Tradition, and that our personal recovery depends on AA unity. That we cannot afford to disrupt the unity of the group. I told my new sponsee that we would need to find a different place to meet because I am not going to go to that group anymore.

But today I am going to call my sponsor and talk to her about this. Because there is a part of me who has a sickening feeling that there are probably groups like this in every city. Groups with a bunch of newbies and a few sober people who get some perverted sense of superiority by attending groups like this and letting the chaos continue. If the sober people would go to these groups, the nonsense would end - eventually. There will always be crazy stuff happening in AA meetings as long as drunks show up, but there should be enough women and men sprinkled about the room with strong sobriety to calmly put out the fires.

So, that is what I am pondering this morning. I am looking forward to a quiet day at work. I will do my grocery shopping at lunch today.

And tomorrow? I will have a house full of family! Oh, I cannot wait! I will have pies to bake and potatoes to peel and a ham to bake, etc., etc., etc.....

Isn't this great? Scott just sent me this "fixed" photo - entitled "Rebos to Sober." I think these two photos look like my sober bookends on the year.

Love you all.



dAAve said...

Maybe you have a new home group. Ewwwwwwwwwwwww...

Happy New Year and thanks for being a big part of my 2008.

Scott W said...

I have never been to a meeting that disruptive. We get startled when someone's cell phone goes off. Guess we have it pretty easy.

I will follow on Dave's coat tail, which I have done for five years, and say thanks for being there.

Pam said...

Girl the very first thing I though of while reading this is that I would have made a b-line for the chair person after the meeting to offer support. I agree with you 100%. In my experience these groups usually die on their own.
I have so enjoyed spending my mornings with you for the year 2008
If you ever get struck crazy in the middle of the night and sleep walk to the nearest bar, you won't have to worry because they won't serve you alcohol after they read your night shirt. "Oh can't serve this lady, she's SOBER."

J-Online said...

I love your shirt and your hair. Looks great! I too have enjoyed reading your blog this year. Keep it up!

Trailboss said...

GAG, sorry you had to endure that.

I thank you too for being part of my every day in 2008. I look forward to 2009.

steveroni said...

Mary, I sure like the way you spent 2008. Whatever else 'happened', you started the year sober, ended it sober, and didn't drink in between!

You might not go to that 5:30 any more (I hope you don't have to), but I tell you I'D sure like to be at a meeting like that...


Hope said...

Green is the symbolic colour of hope.
What a wild sounding meeting. My home group sometimes resembles what you've described here. We meet in the same building as a soup kitchen and are a beginners meeting.
I've watched people deal with disruption as gracefully as possible. I've seen it get uncomfortable, too.
I've always, always been glad I wasn't the one chairing when the meetings have been disruptive.
I'm not sure how I would handle it but I keep watching and learning for when my turn comes.

Kathy Lynne said...

I'd probably have to leave that meeting, unless I was sitting next to someone like you....have a wonderful new year sober celebration and thanks for the non smoking support...I'm working on it..xo

Holly Hoffman said...

Sounds like it's time to sign up to chair that meeting! Topic: the Traditions and why they're important.

And yes, every city has sick meetings. Remember that some of us are sicker than others, and it's important for us to be there as the true hand of AA!

Findon said...

Have a look at my blog regarding the meetings. It's sad when meetings descend into chaos. Not good for anybody. Either it can be fixed or it can't. My decision needs to be whether or not to put up with bad behaviour. recently had a couple of people going round telling lies about me and my wife. I've decided no point in confronting them, I won't be going to meetings they go to either. I have that chopice today. I dont think its running away, I think its about being comfortable. Hope things work out for you.

Syd said...

It sounds as if your strength and sobriety are what this meeting needs. And maybe a group conscience meeting or two. I'm grateful for all that you have shared over the past year. You are quite a lady, MC.

♥Shann♥ said...

lol Scott is so smart hee

wow that is a tough one. Whew my homegroup gets like that from time to time. It has so gotten better. But it is a "front line group" Which means, we are off the bus line, and next to several clean and sober houses, So the majority of the meetings are newbies, fresh with court slips, out of jail and rehabs or wet drunks off the streets. There is also good percentage of recovery. We have gone through ups and downs. And have moved 4 times since I have been apart of the group since 2001.
My sponsor's sponsor used to say, sometimes when we get here we arent house broken. Meaning, we dont know traditions, steps, program, manners, or anything of the kind. She was a very kind a loving woman. She was helpful to lots of newbies that were not house broken. Not everyone can do that... and thats ok

Which is kinda like brain surgeons, not everyone is cut out to do it... you know what I mean. Like I could not be a brain surgeon, but I can pay medical claims. Not everyone can do that either.

I can be in a group like this, because I was like that. I can help, and I do... so do others

I have watched over the past 7+years a lot of those newbies become wonderful AA members, who have stayed sober, and are helping the new comer, carring the traditions, and help "house break" the newbies whose behaviors are off the hook... lol I dont know. I love that group. There have been times I couldnt take being a meeting there, and I would go to other meetings and that is ok too.
I think variety is good


happy New Years

Gabriella Moonlight said...

OH we have a couple of those meetings and you are right that it takes sane sobriety and it can be painful to be in these,bein a BB thumper that I am the Traditions are so important and yet rarely discussed :-(

I want to say Happy New Year and thank you for being an integral part of my sobriety for this last part of the year, I will look forward to more in 2009.


The Maven said...

Happy New Year! :)

Sorry to hear the meeting was so... dramatic. My homegroup started to get like that, worse every week. Finally I said to myself that it was time to find a new group, as I don't get out to a lot of meetings these days so I need to make the ones I do get to count. It's as simple as that. The first tradition is so very, very important for all our sakes.

Have a wonderful 24 hours!

Lou said...

I really think MC needs to chair this meeting a few times. That would put an end to the nonsense;)

Happy New One!