I went to a meeting this morning and saw a man raise his hand and say he was at his first AA meeting ever. After a while, he shared, because, he reasoned, we would all want to hear from the new man. He could have been a speaker at a great huge AA meeting. He honestly gave a brilliant narrative of the progression of the malady of alcoholism. He started with recalling a walk down a city sidewalk in 1955, at the side of his father, passing a barroom and smelling the beer and smoke and thinking it was the best thing he ever smelled. And the first drink later, and the later drinks, and the trouble, and the more trouble, and the trying to stop, etc. And he ended his beautiful, articulate share by saying "and my name is Dave, and I am an alcoholic."
The cynic in me had him pegged as some kind of phony before he clinched it with that closer. I managed to keep my mouth shut and not share my suspicions with anyone - that is SOME kind of progress. I wish I could progress all the way to not being suspicious of people's stories. I would rather be burned by people lying to me than always be thinking they are. But I have such a time honed b.s. meter. And this guy was full of it. Too much AA lingo. And that closing - which we don't even do here in Denver - they do it in other areas of the country, and a few people do it here, but not many. But I have not once ever heard a newcomer do it.
Even when I walked into the room, I noticed him. I thought of going over to introduce myself, but then someone else did, so I could just sit where I like and do what I wanted. Even then, I thought he was sizing up the room, were people welcoming him, etc. I hope we didn't let him down, truly I do hope we didn't. Because no matter what his story is, I am quite certain he is an alcoholic. No one can describe alcoholism the way he did without having lived it. Most people can't describe it that eloquently until they have been sober for a decade or two, because it takes that long for the fog to lift and the reality of the horror to become evident and real.
It reminded me of the time a few years ago when a man had started coming to our group. We had just lost a couple of members tragically. Our group was in collective grief and some of our members were in horrible personal tragedy. This guy comes along and says his wife and daughter were just killed in a car accident. I told my friend later that I thought that was a lie. She was horrified that I would sit in judgement of what someone said in an AA meeting as being true or false. I felt terrible about what an awful person I must be to have judged him. About a year later, we all found out that he never had a wife or daughter and there was no car accident. My friend asked me how I knew that... I don't know... he just sounded like he was full of s***. That's all.
So now I shall go and pray for this defect to be removed.