Saturday, September 23, 2006

I Knew This Day Might Come

Regular readers (all six of you!) will remember a couple of weeks ago when there was a little dustup around El Rancho Harpo with teenage drinking and one asshole dad. If you're a newer reader, welcome, you can do some catching up here if you're so inclined.

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


Blogger FriĆ°vin said...

Eeewwwww. Those small towns. You made the best of it though.

Hmm, I may have to shut down. I do believe we are about to have a big-ass storm!

3:14 PM  
Blogger Tata said...

You are a big man to view him as a fellow traveler.

I might've punched him in the face. Though I'm really tiny and some might view that as hilarious. So yeah: you, big man.

5:30 PM  
Blogger trog69 said...

Good evening, Minstrel Boy. I gotta tell you, your restraint borders on otherworldly. I hope I'm wrong, but I doubt your new- found friend, even without another drop 'o' firewater, will ever change his stripes. Good luck with that.

Konagod, I sure hope everthing turns out ok there. Sumpin shorly did open up the stormgates, and having lived in Houston, I am familiar with Texas 'sprinkles'.

6:34 PM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

one concept we learn in recovery is that somebody this new is really supposed to be fucked up and a mess. hell, i didn't wake up one fine morning and say "gee, my life is so wonderfull and fulfilling that i think i'll spend some time in AA meetings." instead, when everything in the world seems to be closing in on us we come crawling in, hoping against hope that we can find a little something to believe in. and there is that whole small town ethic. like it or not, homeboy's a homeboy, i'm going to see him, his wife, his kids around the town. there's no escaping that. at least not until my place further out in the sticks is finished. the thing is though, there's really nothing unusual or even all that special about the way i handled myself. that's how you're supposed to do it in sobriety. it's one of the things that makes it worthwhile to remain sober. being able to count on yourself to behave in a civilized and decent manner is learned behavior for most alcoholics. it's not something i was born with.

7:11 PM  
Blogger J. Goff said...

You rock, MB.

8:38 PM  
Blogger pissed off patricia said...

I believe it's called taking the high road and you seem to be a good driver. :)

You probably have some good Karma coming your way.

1:42 AM  
Blogger maurinsky said...

MB, I went to a couple of AA meetings with a friend of mine. I'm not an alcoholic, I certainly exhibit alcoholic behaviors, which isn't surprising since I grew up under the influence of an alcholic (my father, who has been sober for about 8 months now, 8 terrific months where we've met a completely different person than the one we grew up with.)

I also grew up with the queen of all codependents, my mother, who never met a person with a problem that she couldn't accommodate and encourage.

I sometimes wonder if I should go to AA, since I can't afford professional therapy (both timewise and moneywise), but I would have a problem with the higher power step.

8:47 AM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

if you are not an alcoholic, AA isn't the place. many communities have Al-Anon groups for family members who must deal with alcoholics in an out of recovery. There is also a group called "Adult Children of Alcoholics." They are all based on the twelve step approach to changing your life and your outlook. You might find what you're looking for there. I have had friends who after years of sobriety found themselves drawn to Al-Anon and ACA because they felt that their issues with their children becoming drinkers or their parents aging while still drinking all were problems that they needed the help of "experts" to deal with. Give it a look.

8:55 AM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

once the journey begins maurinsky darlin' the higher power steps get explained by those who have been making the journey and have done the steps. my own journey was one where i explored and defined my atheism. it remains in place today. the critical realization for me with that step is that it speaks about believing "that" a power greater than yourself can do the work nothing about believing "in" such a power. the critical thing is the spiritual journey, destination doesn't matter.

10:19 AM  

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