Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Eye Contact with an Alcoholic

A photo while stopped at a light on my way home from work yesterday.  I love the guy crossing the street looking at the sky.
OK, I have been meaning to write about this for two months now.  And right now, I have about 7 minutes to do so.  I was in the pool before 5 a.m. this morning and will drive to work again today because it makes my life easier in many ways.

But while riding the bus, within the first couple of days, back in January, I saw a man I know.  He is the husband of a former neighbor who was also one of my university instructors.  She wanted to hire me at one point to be her protege, which would have been an incredible opportunity, but didn't pay well enough for me.  Weirdly, when I was looking at this house to buy, I realized she lived across the street. Our relationship was essentially ruined once I moved in.  I honestly think she resented having someone she knew professionally in the neighborhood.  Well, too bad, I didn't move here because she lived here!

Anyway, after a few years, she met a man on an airplane and a few months later, he moved across country to live with her.  They were a couple of party animals.  That's OK - it is none of my business.

Until her husband showed up at my AA group.  I had "the talk" with him - that I would never share with anyone that I saw him there.  We were friendly.  He was in trouble with a DUI, etc.  After a while, he stopped coming to the meeting.   And after while longer, they moved to another and much posher neighborhood.

Another neighbor hangs out with them and is always talking about the great parties and how they share cocktails, etc.  So, I have a pretty good idea he is drinking again.  Again, none of my business.  (and furthermore, a DUI doesn't necessarily make you an alcoholic!)

But he rides the same bus as I do!  When I first saw him, I smiled and prepared to say "hello," but he just looked away.  He never makes eye contact with me.  Now when the bus stops where he gets on, I just concentrate on my knitting or my iPhone.  I really have no need to talk to him - it is just stupidly awkward.

I have had people run away from me in the grocery store, etc.  I am an AA member and have been in this community for a long time.  Many, many people have seen me in AA meetings.  And I guess if you have seen me and known me as an AA member, and now you are drinking, you no longer want to make chit chat with me on the bus or at the grocery store.  That's OK.

Just weird.

Thank God there is no one in this world I have to avoid today.  I can walk out of here with my head held even.  Not high, not low, just even.  I am just a child of God today.  A sober child of God.


Anonymous said...

Controversy. I work to avoid all that. I just try and accept people for who they are and not take anything personally. Glad you're driving. Seems to make things more pleasant.

Anonymous said...

I can totally see how awkward that would be, even if you did everything you could to avoid it.

Mary LA said...

So uncomfortable, isn't it?

Now and gain I bump into people who came to meetings and admitted they had passed out while driving kids to schoolor made a drunken pass at their boss or puked on the table at their son's wedding reception. They asked for help and wanted to stop drinking.

Now they are drinking again and pretending it was never that bad. Of course they can't look someone from meetings in the eye.

Furtheron said...

When I first got into the rooms of AA I was working at a very large firm - they were the biggest employer in that area by far - I actually lived over 40miles away but the rehab was close to there - about 10 miles away so I was drawn to local meetings with people I met at the meeting the rehab took me too. I therefore saw people at meetings who went to where I worked. However some of those wouldn't talk to me at work at all - fine I suppose but I did think even and nod and a hello wouldn't kill but I have to remember the second A... others however did acknowledge and I was very grateful in those early days I could call up someone in my office block, go have a coffee and a quick meeting just to level me

Syd said...

I have seen a lot of people that I know in open AA meetings. I wonder if they think that I am alcoholic. It doesn't matter. I have not felt the need to explain myself unless called on to share at an open AA meeting. I know to say that I am there to listen.

Findon said...

I have had very much the same experiences. I decided that I would say hello to these people and leave it at that if they turned away. I once saw a women don dark glasses and dive in to a green grocers shop to avoid having to have contact with me. Like you said, I'm glad I don't have to be like that.

dAAve said...

I love it!

Early on, while working the steps, I heard about the magic of Steps 8 & 9.
I heard that once I had completed them I would never have to avoid anyone.
As I sit here today, that is true.
Magic, I tell you. Magic.

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

:) Oh I remember that feeling of willfully avoiding eye contact or hope hope hoping they won't see me. Even in the most innocuous of places.

Keen sense of judgement and impending doom.

Thank God for the relief of recovery!

Thank you for sharing this today!

Pammie said...

Lovin my Mary from afar.