Monday, February 13, 2012

On Facing a Week

The tiny baby's tiny feet, while sleeping
This morning I woke up with a migraine for the first time in months.  My old boss was codependent as hell and was trying to make some rhyme or reason of them.  She thought there was a seasonal component to them.  I think she might have been right.  But I have a new job and I am not willing to call in sick this morning, so off I shall go, into the world.  Wondering how I can make it through the week.  It seems too overwhelming at the moment.  When I was on my old job, I would schedule a day off for the day after watching tiny baby.

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.)


shadowlands said...

As I once heard in a meeting.....

"you sober up a horse thief, he'll still steal horses"

Syd said...

I don't have any experience about this, but have heard the stories, have understood that 13th stepping occurs, and know from Bill's history that problems occur even after recovery. Good post, MC.

amber said...

Well said!!!

Anonymous said...

Hope the headache gets better fast. I love the pic of the little footies! I just noticed your stat counter and you started blogging 6 days before I got sober :)

Michelle said...

Its important to be mindful in any place you seek comfort. For some it's easy to trust especially when your emotions are raw and there is no where else to turn. There are many good deeds performed as you said. It's just unforunate that human nature seeks to learn about the wicked which can over shadow the light. Thank you for your post.

dAAve said...

Sorry to hear about the return of the migraines.
People are people, sober or not. Some of us change everything, some of us don't.

You spelled it out very well.

Anonymous said...

Please compare this post to the one about running alone. There, you argue that women should have every right and expectation to run anywhere they like and not be harmed. And suggestion otherwise, you say, is blaming the victim.

But here, despite your claim not to be blaming the victim, you warn women not to trust men in AA, because AA isn't a safe place, and criticise a woman for going into a room with a man.

Which is it?

SoberMomRocks said...

I don't mind the lecture - sometimes we need it. Although not new to sobriety I am new to AA and I find that it is very easy to be "taken in". That feeling of FINALLY belonging after so long not - is such a relief it's hard to not just close our eyes and go with the flow.

However, as a woman from a big city I am always hyper-vigilant and so would hope that my radar would stop me from putting myself in dangerous situations. It worked while I was a drunk, hopefully it's still functioning.

Annette said...

Wise words MC.

Anonymous said...

My granddaughter wears me out (but no migraines). I think it's kinda funny your old boss tried to fix the migraines..I do that too.

Mary LA said...

You touch on such difficult and important issues -- if you are new and shaky in sobriety and you go into any public place or library or bar or coffee bar or supermarket, nobody suggests you open yourself up and try to identify with the speakers, try to listen with an open heart and hear your own story told in excruciating detail, talk from the heart, be honest about your struggles and shame. Everything about AA is about vulnerability.

That is why predators flourish and why it is so problematic for AA to be perceived as just another violent and exploitative environment. And in some places it is exactly that.

shadowlands said...

nonnomouse said

"But here, despite your claim not to be blaming the victim, you warn women not to trust men in AA, because AA isn't a safe place, and criticise a woman for going into a room with a man."

A booked room. There's a difference. You see that? Yes? No?

Mary Christine said...

I don't want to get into an argument - but I think your question is what this whole post is about. Of course, I don't blame the woman, I acknowledged that people are vulnerable when getting to AA. But I wanted to warn that AA is, in my opinion, not a "safe place." I have written about this here repeatedly. Very dissimilar to telling someone not to go outdoors in the sunshine alone and without a weapon.