I went to two meetings today. I don’t do that much anymore. But I think I just wanted to be around people, even if I didn’t feel like I really fit in. One of them was my regular Thursday morning meeting, which I really like. I had been working up the nerve for the past… well, more than a month to ask if this one guy (sober since nineteen eighty something, I think, which is more than I can imagine at this point) that seems like a really good guy and said that he would probably describe himself as an agnostic if it came right down to it, but has a certain affinity for Buddhism… at any rate, I’d been wanting to ask him to have coffee or something. Finally did that this morning. Every one of those meetings that I’ve been to, he’s made a point to hang around after the meeting to chat with me. I’ve appreciated that. So Sunday, I’m gonna go have coffee with him. This is good, I think.
The second meeting, the guy leading the meeting remembered me from the meetings I’d been to there before, even though it had been a while since I’d been to that particular meeting. He asked me if I’d read How It Works, which if you don’t know is the section of the Big Book that contains the steps. There’s a lot of God in them. I’ve read the steps aloud before and swallowed my conscience and just said all the God stuff, but I’d never read it aloud in context. I don’t know how I summoned the courage, but I told him I’d only read it if I could leave out the God stuff. He said, “Well, do it your way.” Whaaaat? Really? Ok.
Another guy there says, “Leave out the God stuff?”
“But it’s a God program!”
The guy chairing the meeting, a gentle, peaceful hippy kind of guy, says, “Well, let’s see. How do you want to do it? What do you want to say instead?”And he starts throwing out some ideas.
Other guy can’t resist, “What, a weeping willow? You gonna pray to that?”
“I’ll just use higher power. How about that?”
Chair guy says, “That’ll work good.” And he then skillfully navigates the other guy’s train of thought to something more mundane and pleasant, for which I was thankful as I tried to sink into the hard back chair while looking over the laminated paper that had the passage typed out.
And so I read How It Works. With higher power instead of God. It was still unsatisfying, as just the one to one word substitution does very little to mitigate some of the outright theological implications of some Thing magically removing your sins and your desire to drink. Still, though. I did it. I “stood up” for who I am, and nothing horrible happened. No one said anything about it after the meeting. Weeping Willow Guy even shook my hand before he left.
It probably helped that there was the warranted distraction of someone else there who was weeping about slipping earlier that day who was definitely still under the influence to some extent. She rambled for about 20 minutes, and it was so so so painful to see someone in pain, but fighting. At least she was there, and she was fighting. Her addled thought process wasn’t quite making sense of itself, but she was there. She was trying, even if she was simultaneously beating the fuck out of herself and looking for someone (mostly her husband, her sister’s death, etc.) to blame.
The topic was trust & acceptance. I’d read an article yesterday about men needing to shed high expectations just as much as women do (article by Greta Christina here http://bit.ly/m1X4dw). The main point was to stop giving a damn, and just be who you are. Good advice all around. As far as acceptance goes, it seems just as important to apply the Golden Rule here, too, and accept people where they are without unrealistic unattainable expectations just as you’d like them to accept who you are. Even though, realistically, you know that many people won’t, and will judge you. For help with that, though, I turn to the Complete Guide To Not Giving a Fuck, found here http://inoveryourhead.net/the-complete-guide-to-not-giving-a-fuck/ .