So, one young man who has been in 8 rehabs in as many years, which is as many years as he has been drinking - told us all he lied in a job interview (saying he had two years of sobriety rather than two months) and his sponsor had the nerve to tell him that was the wrong thing to do! Well! He didn't care, he got the job and he felt good about it, dammit! (His affect belied his words and I am sure he is deeply troubled by this and I hope it doesn't get him drunk - and I quietly and kindly talked with him about this - after the meeting.)
After him, a young woman with glitter crosses all over her hat shared. She told us all that we should not be relying on a group and should not be listening to a sponsor. We should take our direction from our "higher power" not from human beings. She also happened to mention that she could not stay sober... I wonder if those things could be related. After the meeting, a man who is seriously sober for a couple of years was talking with me and told me he thought she had a good point. WHAT? I asked him if God had ever spoken directly to him... he said no. I told him that we take direction from a group and a sponsor because that is how God is able to speak to us. But honestly, what are we saying?
On Saturday, at this same meeting, the chairperson had a topic - Tiger Woods. I looked meaningfully across the room at a man who I know takes AA seriously. He nodded at me. He shared first, steering it around to an AA topic. I shared second, keeping it on the new topic. And after I was done, they talked about Tiger Woods. Talking about "addiction" as if that is what we are doing in AA. As if being an alcoholic gives us an inside perspective on "sexual addiction" and gives us the right to judge someone else's sincerity. Holy crap.
This man told me after the meeting that we would all be OK as long as people like he and I were at meetings, sponsoring people, and talking about traditions. I asked him "for how long?" He looked at me like I was nuts. If people are spending tens of thousands of dollars to go to rehab for a stretch of time, and if they sound close enough to AA to be the same as AA to people who don't know anything about AA - and then these people come out to AA and aren't told any differently - then we become what rehab has made us. And, believe me folks, it is a weaker version of AA. Thinking sponsorship is not necessary, putting all "addictions" in the same category as Alcoholism, cultlike chanting, not knowing or caring anything about traditions... this is what we have got sitting in our chairs.
I am grateful to have been brought up in AA to listen, to have a sponsor, to sponsor others, to pass it on, to be rigorously honest, and through the process of the twelve steps have a spiritual awakening which changed every single thing in my life. And then I was taught about AA, its history, our traditions, why we have them, and why that was important to ME. And then I was told to get into AA service which is an education unlike any other you have ever experienced....
OK! Enough! I am going to get on the treadmill and run some miles and then go to work!