Sunday, April 3, 2011

Wishing I had the answers....

I love Saturday meetings. They're largely attended, people are relaxed and in good moods. Laughter fills the club, the meetings flow, and you leave refreshed and renewed for the hours that lie ahead. As the meeting was starting I saw the doors open and my friend R slip in. He holds a special place in my heart because he was the person who answered the phone the day I called the AA hotline. Two things he said, made me feel like I was ready to go. I have used those same words of wisdom on other people and they have remembered them as well. I hadn't seen R in months, but I ask mutual friends of ours how he's doing. He's in school, so I know he's busy, he's divorced and tries to see his young son as much as he can. However when he walked through the doors yesterday I was shocked. His hair was longer, uncombed, his clothes ragged, his blue eyes worn out. He kept his eyes down and headed for a seat in the back. When he sat down he looked across to me and nodded. I know R's story. My husband and I heard his testimony last year. He's had a tough road but he's also been an inspiration to many others. And you know my alcoholic mind, all I could think about is "what the hell is going on?" The meeting got under way and there were two new people there for their first time so we had a first step meeting. I love first step meetings. I always learn so much and yesterday was no exception. I know those meetings give me way more than I can give them. After the meeting a bunch of us were standing around talking and laughing when R tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around and held my arms open. He walked into the embrace and just let his whole weight fall. Now I'm only 5'3 so I shuffled us over to the chairs before I fell down. My friend is broken. Now that my cold heart has melted in AA it feels when people are broken. I quietly said, "what's going on"? For the next twenty minutes out it came. Still in school, no job, locked in a relationship in which the other person pays for everything so she holds it over his head, has no where to go, feels trapped, they fight all the time, she gambles constantly, and on and on and on....I sat and listened. Thank God AA has taught me to listen. When he was done he looked at me and sighed. Now I realize that my friend is on a bit of a pity pot but when you're in that place the last thing you need is someone pointing out the obvious. So we looked at some options he may have not considered, talked with a few other people, and in a little while R started to look a little better. But then he looked at me and said, "sometimes I hate coming here, and hearing how happy people are, how great their lives are, and I'm five years in and I thought things would be so much better for me by now, and they're not. Sometimes I really think God is trying to bust my chops." Yikes I was in desperate need of an answer. So I quickly said the serenity prayer. Then I looked and my friend and said," I wish I had the answers. I don't. People aren't problem free because they're happy. We just have choices now. When I was drinking I had no choices. You have choices, they might not be clear at this moment but they're there, and they will come. Life is testing you, not God. He wants you to cling to him, and maybe the outcome won't be what you're hoping for. Maybe you will make it through this with your faith intact, and that's what he has designed for you." I had to get going, so we hugged and I started down the sidewalk knowing that I don't have any answers. I can only do for my friend what he once did for me. Share my experience strength and hope, and pray that it will be enough.......


  1. mmm...yeah that is the best we can do...but our stories have power beyind our understanding so share it boldly...and pray...

  2. all we can do is take it one day at a time and support each other through it

  3. I agree with Brian and Julie, all I can do it tell how it was with me, then lay the kit of spiritual tools out for him to pick up. That IS Twelve Steps, I'm talking about. Then let God (and another man) handle it from there.

    You know, in my Big Book it does not say, "Here are the meetings we attended..." It reads, "Here are the STEPS WE TOOK...program of recovery:

    NOTE: It's the little things.....PEACE!

  4. Your listening probably was the answer.

  5. Beautiful post. I am so glad that you were there to talk to him. That itself was a God moment. Just catching up on your blog now. Sorry to be so behind!!

  6. Good Morning,
    A couple of things; the first step mtg reminded me of last November, eh, the 12th to be exact - forever imprinted in my heart and mind. I'm reminded how everyone shared what my experience meant to them that night - each was reminded of what it is like out there; I had a clear image to share with them; I was so broken. They all rapidly shared how I will have kept them sober for one more day........
    how it works

    I know I read with too much analysis, but for what its worth, although this guy remains sober (at least that is how I read it) you did mention that you had not seen him in a while; to me this translates into the possibility of a "dry drunk" (for lack of better words) and if this is so, he is in a bad place for sure. We know that not picking up is only a very small portion of sobriety....

    Another comment; Steve's warning about "another man" possibly helping him. Dude needs to be reaching out to men, and quickly!!

    But from where you sit, you did exactly what we can do, what we're called to do. There is great power in prayer!! The toxic relationship he is in sounds like a set-up for a train-wreck...

    And then, this,,,
    there are those few
    less fortunate...................

    sad, but the reality

  7. You ROCK! I always love when I read a post or hear a friend sharing difficulty and find light in the experience shared! I am so grateful to you!!! You inspired me to share an experience and a truth about myself. :) Thanks so much!