|The tiny baby's tiny feet, while sleeping|
Over the weekend, yet another story broke in the media about sexual abuse at the hands of an "AA leader." That's what the news story called him. It seems he lured a woman to a hotel room so that she could work on a step where she told of her past misdeeds. There was no true sexual assault, no clothes were removed, but there was inappropriate touching.
At dinner on Saturday night, a lovely night with the fellow I have been so ambivalent about, we discussed this. I hate to say that I very nearly "blamed the victim" in this case. What the hell? Who has a male sponsor? Who goes to a motel room with a man from AA? Who calls a tiny touch an "assault?" Why hasn't AA done a better job of talking to the media about what we are and aren't?
My fella was very kind and reminded me of how very vulnerable we are when we get to AA. He is right, of course.
I think what irritates me is the fairy tale of AA being a "safe place." When you look at it realistically, you have to see that this is a ridiculous idea. We are all alcoholics, in various stages of recovery. Some of us aren't in recovery at all, and some of us aren't even alcoholics. AA might be more realistically called a "safe place" for criminals to hang out and practice their chicanery.
Please, if you are new to AA, use some judgement about who you trust. Think of AA as a barroom, with the same cast of characters, only now these characters are sober. You wouldn't leave a bar with any old person who asked you, please don't go off to a motel room with someone of the opposite (or same) sex and think it is going to be innocent. And if someone is posing as an "AA Leader," run as fast as you can in the opposite direction. Our Second Tradition says clearly, "Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern."
All that said, AA is a wonderful place once you have found your way around. There are wonderful, sober people there who are willing to help you to get and stay sober. I have taken sober alcoholics into my home and into my life and family - and I have been taken in by others. I would trust them with my life, and I know they feel the same way about me.
There are people who really truly practice these principles in all their affairs, and then there are those who don't. But please don't think that every person sitting in an AA meeting has good intentions. Most do, but some don't.
I really believe that God has permitted us to survive into our eighth decade. Left to our own devices, we are a mess. But there is a God and he has graced us with sobriety and a sober fellowship. For those of us who are sober, let's treat that with the respect it deserves, OK?
(Sorry about the lecture, I am tired and have a migraine which kind of takes the softness out of me.)