Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wednesday Evening




I'm discouraged today. Don't lecture me please. It is difficult to spend a day with a bunch of people who are about to lose their jobs - some after many years. Some break your heart with their selfless devotion to patients. Some make you sick with their narcissistic focus on their own retirement benefits, etc. For many where I work, this has been so much more than a "job" it has been their life's passion.

I went to a meeting this morning. A man who shows up twice a year, once for his AA birthday and again for his wife's, chaired the meeting for some reason. He interrupted a man who was sharing to tell him he wasn't talking about "alcohol." Our format uses the Blue Card -

This is an open meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. We are glad you are all here - especially newcomers. In keeping with our singleness of purpose and our Third Tradition which states that "The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking," we ask that all who participate confine their discussion to their problem with alcohol.
This poor guy was talking about how he was going to have to file for bankruptcy and how he was going to hurt some people he really cared about. It was very heartfelt, in fact, he had tears in his eyes. He did assert that this did have something to do with his alcoholism and got the chairman to let him continue.

I sat dumbfounded. I thought about the fact that I have been sober for 2 and a half decades. When was the last time I talked about "alcohol?" Probably the last time I told my story.

I LOVE the traditions and I believe the structure and discipline of these are very beneficial. But holy rigidity batman, are we going to get this crazy about this? Will I no longer be able to share in a meeting because it has been a while since I have had a drink or have had the desire to have a drink - thereby evidencing the fact that our beautiful program WORKS?!

I got to meet with one of my beloved sponsees after the meeting and we talked about this. It was a good discussion.

I am tired and going to bed - way too early. I will wake up tomorrow and get out and take a walk and go to work and it will be good.


13 comments:

AnyEdge said...

Lovely MC.

Mike Golch said...

Great posting,sucks about the job loses.

Scott W said...

That old fart that only comes to meetings twice a year would faint straight away in a meeting at Lambda. I would like to see that.

If you are an alcoholic and you are in a meeting and there is something bothering you, you should be able to talk about it. Isn't that the way it works?

Tall Karen said...

I think it was meant to keep the discussion of drugs and other addictions out. Some people can find controversy in anything. Just living life is a problem for alcoholics, so that leaves it pretty open.

Lou said...

It is the same at my work..some people are marking the days till retirement on a calendar, others give it their heart every day.

What happens to the patients? They eventually cost society so much more in medical, criminal, and general mayhem. Another short sighted, band aid approach that cascades into larger problems. I was thinking about this all day yesterday.

Ron Eklof said...

I love it when things don't go the way they should and I realize they are perfect just the way they are. Everyone is my teacher. Everyone. Even me.

Susan M DeAngelis said...

In my old home group, we were not supposed to talk about drugs at all.

Great post -- all of these job losses are so very sad. :)

Mary Christine said...

Scott, you have made an assumption about the guy's age. He is not old at all.

Ed G. said...

I wish you strength, peace and joy in difficult times.

Blessings and aloha...

Cat said...

Thinking of you.

Syd said...

MC, it sounds like a sad time. I know how much I missed a couple of colleagues that retired. It would be hard to see so many staff leave that you've known for a long time.

As far as the meeting sharings, I guess that the effects of alcoholism are about as far reaching as anything. Many don't drink but have the disease. Maybe the chair needs to read Bill's story and the doctor's opinion again.

diane d said...

Wonderful post. Saying a prayer for your coworkers.

Carol said...

Thanks for your opinion about sharing at open AA meetings. At a round robin mtg, I have plenty to say about fear and anger and the power of program to bring me away from self pity and back to a spiritual path. Everyone has been nice to me but there may be that next time when someone is not. We're all so vulnerable.