I Knew This Day Might Come
I went to my regular AA meeting here in my little town this morning at ten. I'm sitting, off in a corner having a cup of coffee, when who should walk in but the guy that had bought the beer for the kids in the first place.
He takes about two steps inside the door and stands there holding his "court card" which is a record of AA meetings attended. They are usually given out by treatment programs mandated by the court system. We get a lot of folks walking through the meetings that have those. Some people complain about it, how it degrades the quality of the meetings by filling them with people who don't want anything we have to offer and are just marking time. I take a slightly different view. I am all in favor of not allowing people to highjack a meeting or misbehave, but I have noticed that the people who get sent in on a mandate from the legal system have about the same rate of recovery as anybody else. I figure, hey, if they're in a meeting with us for an hour, let's make the best of it.
So homeboy's standing there looking around the room, not recognising a soul when he sees me. He turns a little pale and is looking like he's about to bolt. I get up and go over to him, offer my hand to shake and say "Must be a real bitch to go somewhere and I'm the only one you know." He mutters some stuff. I show him where the coffee is, introduce him to some other people and go back to where I was.
The meeting starts and since it's in a small town there aren't a whole lot of us there. We go around the room and introduce ourselves. It gets to homeboy and he tells us his name and says "but I'm not an alcoholic, my lawyer is making me come here." That's cool with me too. When it's my turn I say that I wasn't an alcoholic when I first came to AA either. I was firmly convinced that it was somehow more sophisticated and glamorous to be a junkie. And again, since this is one of four meetings that happen in town during the week, I figure it's cool to not do anything to rattle the cage. If he wants to give sobering up a try he deserves every chance in the world to make a success of it.
He launches into his version of the events that got him into trouble and has managed to rationalize a lot of it to where he is a victim of government oppression and creeping fascism where the police state has intruded on people's right to raise their children as they see fit. Oh yeah, I'm the self righteous asshole who called the cops rather than face him like a man.
After the meeting I go over and ask him if my being in the meeting makes him uncomfortable. He says no. I tell him that if it ever does to please let me know and I can easily find another spot to get a meeting in. I also tell him that the D.A.'s office has contacted me about his case and that I will testify in court if they ask it of me. He mutters something hostile and I walk away.
I remember what it was like to be newly sober and totally fucked.
Crossposted at Big Brass Blog