My pre-sobriety days were known as the “terrified of shadows” days. I would get juiced up on booze and whatever chemical enhancers I could get my clepto hands on and get busy. As the night or days would wear on (without sleep) I would be on shadow watch.
Any place a shadow would appear,
I would get extremely paranoid and believe that the Men in Black were coming to get me.
I was important, damn it!
Now, I have a few years of sobriety under my belt. My paranoia has remained dormant. My importance in the scope of things has been drastically reduced.
But I am still on shadow watch…..only it’s a different kind of shadow.
I obtained and remain sober through the program of AA. Once I worked the 12 steps and became a productive member of society, instead of a leech, it was time for me to begin helping others who came in through the doors.
The ones that are put into my path are the shadows.
They sneak into the meetings….a little late…in order to avoid talking to anyone. Stay quiet and unassuming throughout. After the meeting is over they pick up the paper that they need to have signed as proof of attendance, then vanish like a shadow in the dark.
I get a kick out of the shadows.
Mainly because I used to be one.
I came to the meetings because I had to……initially. Just sign my paper and leave me alone. I got this. And I did have this.
Until I didn’t.
Then, out of the shadows I came and asked for help.
Now I get to give back.
The shadows are hard to pin down. I can’t force them to let me give them suggestions.
So, I just talk with them…
Shadow to shadow
Compare arrest records
How we got into trouble
When it started
Then I let them know I no longer have to check in with the authorities to leave town. I can go wherever I want. I tell them I have been off probation for almost 2 years. Still sober. Still coming to AA.
Then the kicker….
I tell them if they want guidance on how to achieve the same thing, to just let me know. I am here to help. And I hand them my phone number. And ask them to call if they think they might be about to do something they shouldn’t. And then I shake their hand and walk away…and vanish like a shadow.
Sometimes my phone rings.
I don’t get mad if the shadows don’t call. I don’t track them down. I am not a savior of any sort.
I’m just a guy who is learning how to stay sober….in order for me to help maintain sobriety, it is crucial for me to try to help others.
And it reminds of what it was like when I first walked into the doors.
I no longer live in the shadows, like my formal self so much enjoyed.
I enjoy the opportunities that AA has given me to show others that the light at the end of the tunnel doesn’t have to be a police officers flashlight.