This is not about the movie first made in 1986….nor is it about the remake of the same movie that came out recently.
My life is not done in black or white…nor is it scripted or always end happily or is played in under 113 minutes.
My life is full of color, unpredictable and is constantly ongoing.
Last night, I went back to the place I walked away from almost a year ago.
An AA meeting.
Was I loaded?
On the verge of getting loaded?
Fighting back temptation the only way I knew how?
I was asked to go, by my wife, and I said yes.
If it were only that simple, this post would be done.
She has asked me to go with her to AA functions repeatedly over the last year and my answer to the question was always the same…quick and concise.
So why now?
I have made a few recent discoveries…that’s why…and here they are-
1- I am a stubborn ass.
2- I am missing out on an important part of my wife’s life by being a stubborn ass.
3- Choosing to stay at home alone and staring at the popcorn ceiling for hours wondering if it would actually taste like popcorn, instead of spending time with the woman I love in whatever capacity, further proves than I am a stubborn ass.
Ok…so I really just discovered 1 thing that encompasses a few more.
It is what it is.
Here is how it went down.
It was a speaker meeting where a topic would be picked and various members of the visiting group would share on the topic from behind the podium.
The visiting group was my old home group. We traveled about 50 miles to take the meeting to the other group.
We arrive early. My wife tells me,
“I didn’t tell anyone you were coming with me.”
“Cool. No problem.”
Inside my head the voices were carrying on a meeting of their own….
“DUDE!! you know she told everyone….they are probably planning to rope you back in!”
“Watch your back….bro.”
“Remember last time you ran into your first sponsor at the Christmas dealio? This will be worse….and you will be outnumbered….”
The voices are always sooo positive.
The Christmas fiasco was a doozy. My first sponsor was outside talking with a new comer. I went out to sit with them to avoid playing board games inside. He made the comment that I was in AA but quit for some reason.
I replied plainly,
“If you want to know why I quit going…..all you have to do is ask.”
He asked. I replied.
“I stopped going because I lost faith in and any sort of belief in a higher power….or God, if you will. Without that, the program ceased to work for me. I chose to stop going to avoid resentment or bitterness toward the program that saved my life.”
He paused for a second, then went into AA savior mode.
He quoted several passages from the big book and threw in a cliche for good measure….
“You know….good2begone…the program works if you work it.” He said as he stared confidently at me with his arms crossed in front of him.
I leaned in from my chair and said in a calm quiet tone,
“I stopped “working it” quite a few months ago….and I am still sober….and more at peace than I have been in a long time. Save it for someone who hasn’t heard your tired racket.”
The conversation that followed made the new guy so uncomfortable he got up and walked away from us and said –
“Wow…this is uncomfortable.”
But, my first sponsor gets off on that. He is very knowledgeable on the book….not so much on practicing or experiencing it. He is basically a big book bully. It worked for me when I first came into sobriety..not so much over 7 years later.
Anyway…about last night…
My wife’s sponsor, cried and gave me a huge hug when she saw me.
My wife’s sponsors husband…who was my sponsor when I quit going a year ago saw me and..
Faked a heart attack.
I walked over to where he was sitting and he said, as he shifted his cigar to one side of his mouth,
“Don’t sit next to me…I don’t want to get hit by the lightning.”
I did what anyone else would have done…
I sat next to him, patted him on the arm and said,
“Suck it up old man, it will only jolt ya for a second.”
He chuckled, looked me in the eye and said,
“It really good to see you.” and shook my hand.
The meeting started. I stayed seated and listened to what everybody had to say on the topic.
I didn’t freak out.
No one tried to kidnap me and place me in the 12 step padded room.
We had dessert and conversation afterward.
Before my old sponsor left, he shook my hand and said,
“My number is still the same…why don’t you make sure it still works in you phone sometime….by the way…I wasn’t joking when I said it is great to see you. I hope to see you again.”
I went back.
Will I keep going back?
I don’t know.
The scenes of the future acts of my life have yet to be written.
Whatever those future acts have in store, I know that if I need help to get through them, I still have a place I can go, where there are people who know me and are willing to lend a hand, whether it has been a day or a year since they have seen me.
And that is what last night was about.
17 thoughts on “About Last Night”
Funny how we make things worse in our head than they really are. I stopped going because of big book thumpers and the “all or nothing” approach. And, like you, I wanted to walk away before I started resenting the program that has saved so many.
I just love the way you love your wife. Bravo.
To put it simply….my wife makes me want to be a better person, without her I would be the grumpy old man sitting on a porch yelling at everyone to stay off my lawn.
I don’t care where I see you…..I just love seeing you!
Thank you. I guess it’s good for me to come out of my isolation chamber every now and then.
I loved this post. I was right there with you at the meetings past and present. Your honesty really made me smile throughout but the funniest bit was when the poor newcomer scuttled away! 🙂
Lol. Thanks. Sometimes newcomers are very good at being around when honest conversations are going on.
I said to my sponsor, the same shit about losing faith. He says; “”What? Do you think you are the fuckin pope or something?”” He said: “”Everybody, or at least everybody I know goes spiritually dry from time to time. If you had a golden path to the heavens 24-7, you could bottle that shit and sell it on TV. “” Over the years I found out he was right.
Seriously, we all lose it from time to time. Meetings get old. Get tired of hearing the same shit from the same people. Leave the meeting thinking what the fuck did I waste my time there for? Forget to pray, then dont want to pray. Then I start blowing off meetings. You know what I mean. Then I get a little fearful about going back. It gets easy not going. Happens to alot of people. In 30 years its happened to me more times than I want to admit.
Much as I didnt want to. It always helped me to lay that shit out at a meeting. You’d be surprised how many people feel the same way.
Besides my home-home, where I sleep. The only other place I have a home is in an AA. It sucks to isolate. Glad you are back bro. You keep me sober by writing this stuff.
Thanks. It’s not that I am fearful of going back. I work with someone who are actively going. It is my personal feeling that without a belief in “god” I can’t actively participate in a spiritual program. I quit praying months before I stepped away…..and feel more at peace than when I was actively praying. I may, in time, call my old sponsor, who has close to 30 years of sobriety and have that conversation with him, if I feel I need to. Right now, it was good to go back and visit but as far as going back and staying in….time will tell. I appreciate your honesty on the subject and hope you can appreciate mine. I just know if I went back and became an active member it would be short lived and end badly….and that is something I do not want.
i’ve tuned my meeting frequency down of late, from 4 a week to one or an occasional two. i tell myself it’s because i have too much writing to do at home, but honestly it’s laziness. Still, i have noticed my thoughts have become louder and less serene. i’m not tempted to drink at all, but i’m falling into a rut that i’m not a fan of.
Thank you for this post, which reminds me that i may not be able to have the life i want, but AA gives me the life i deserve and takes away the bitterness of not having the life i think i deserve. (Lol, i totally get this was not the point of what you were writing, but this is where your words took me, so i thought i’d share.)
Any time I can return the favor that you have given to me with your posts it’s a good thing all the way around.
You know, I never really was into the higher power aspect or honestly even the steps. But I went because I liked the people and I liked talking to other people that “got” it. When I sat at a meeting. I didn’t want to drink, and that was a good feeling.
Go, or don’t. Or maybe go once a week for your wife. Just enjoy the company and don’t worry about the other stuff right now. 🙂
For me, sometimes the higher power isn’t anything more than the collection of people assembled at the meeting. You know, people trying to find a Good Orderly Direction for their lives. A lot of times, somebody says just what I needed to hear. just at that moment. Maybe like something I already knew about, but just had’nt thought about it. the way they said it.
I have had that happen many times, which kept me for a while. I have received that good orderly direction with my life and I continue to use it. I just can’t believe that the good orderly direction is from a god.
Thanks. I am trying to figure out if I want or even need to try to balance that aspect back into my life. It was good to go and see the people I haven’t seen for a while but beyond that I just don’t know.
Believe me bro, you are telling my story. Sober between a rock and a hard place. Sometimes just going for the social aspect of coffee and cake, (to see the folks that worry bout ya when u aint around), then hangin out with the one or two guys I was friendly with and just shootin the shit about nothing was all I could do. Just wasnt feeling the AA and god thing otherwise.
But ya know every once and a while, I ended up helping somebody else out. Like they were going through somthing that I had been through. Or they were brand new and sticking out like a sore thumb. For that one moment in that one day, helping sombody else out, was a good reason for going. Sometimes, its the only reason for going.
I know its a drag being lectured to by AA guys. I;ve been on the recieving end myself a million times, so I know you dont want to hear that old timey AA cliche about —to keep it you gotta give it away—–so I’m not gonna mention it.
Other times you have to do what you have to do. In1999 I cut a sponsees loose because I felt like a hypocrite with the whole god thing. I was telling (suggesting) them to do prayer stuff that I wasnt even doing myself, or even felt connected to. i was 13 years solid then. And I’ve felt like that before and after. You wanna keep moving forward, ya cant hop from mountaintop to mountain top. You gotta go down and walk the valley too.
So u go to the meeting with the old lady. Hold hands during the car ride. Shes happy.
You see the sober folks at the meeting. They are happy- to see you.
The new guys see you and say, Man, thats the dude that cuts down tree’s and catches the limbs with his head, if he can stay sober, maybe I can too. They’re happy.
You go strike up a conversation with the scared guys trying to sneak out the back door and you will be happy too.
Sometimes just showing up is service enough. Dont walk away bro. We need you.