But Seriously Folks

An oldtimer named Bob, with 35 years chaired the meeting we have at my place last night and he reminded me of a pivotal moment in my life/recovery. A decade ago I found myself sitting at lunch with Bob and my sponsor. I was quietly tortured with the loss of a lover and in the midst of wrestling really hard with the idea that I was becoming an oldtimer myself. I didnt want it. I just wanted to be one of the fellas, though I knew that even among the crew I came up with, that I had the most time in the bunch and had somehow managed to stay in the middle more consistently than the rest of us. I had become the Shell Answer Man, the go-to guy. I hated it. I always had this vague sense that people were watching me, half for hope, half looking forward to having a good view when I fell. Ever so slowly (cunning, baffling, powerful even) I began to succumb to my own perceived relevance and laid a trap for myself from which I saw no way out; I couldnt have a bad day.

The gift that Bob gave me that day as he pulled his hair and waved his arms in frustration over his life falling apart in front of us (and more importantly, in front of ME since I didnt know him all too well) was permission to be human. His ass was falling off and he didnt seem to care too much who was there when it was his turn in the barrel or who might be the one to help *him* when he needed it. This was a revelation to me and a major turning point in my life. In the years since I recommitted myself to being in service. Not as a dutiful obligation required of me to keep my seat in AA but as the theme of the 12th step promises; as the Joy of Living. Anyone who’s read my blog knows I pretty much lay it all out there. Sometimes I got it figured out, laying it on the heathens. Sometimes I’m winding my ass and scratching my watch. Hell, I’ve never been 45 years old before. What’s that supposed to look like? But I do it semi-publicly because it frees me from that Tower of Guru, it lets me bleed like everyone else. And because I figure it also does for others what Bob did for me that Saturday afternoon; it gives them permission to be just one more drunk in AA walking through life – together.

Being of service works both ways. I’m pretty damn good at being there for others and taking a certain amount of pride in that. Which ironically, quietly sets me apart from my fellows. But what kind of selfish prick am I when I deny friends, family, and fellow AA’s the very same gift of being able to give back! Bob planted the seed in me the answer to a question that had haunted me since the first time I read a statement in the 4th step in the 12 x 12 much earlier in my sobriety. “The primary fact that we fail to recognize is our total inability to form a true partnership with another human being.” That seed has grown into my own recreated definition of Humility; Humiliation is you laughing at me – Humility is me laughing right along with you.

Thanks Bob.

Think, Think, Think

The most perplexing of all the cliches in AA. I’ve heard it explained as Think the Thought Through and First Thought Wrong. I was reminded tonight of this while watching this vid for V.U.’s Heroin.

So sweet, warm and seductive.
An accidental Roman suicide.
Just a break, an escape.
Not a promissory note for this ride.
What I’m feeling, it’ll pass.
Not worth the death of choice.
Look how far I’ve really come
This world, she needs my voice.

Night of the Living Repeats

Today I was in the yard, throwing Jake The Ball. I was standing in the sun, zombie-like in automatonic motion as my head ate me alive (mmm brains!) with greatest hits like “Who’d want an unemployable *you* with half a leg anyway?” which is of course the remake of “Return of, Son of, Revenge of She’s The last Girl That’ll Ever Love Your Sorry Ass”. Starring Johnny Depp. I love that movie! Know it line for line. I wasnt a fan of the musical however. Anyway there i am and I’m losing the fight badly when a distant voice somewhere in the theater starts to distract me; “hi” …..”Hi” ……”HI” ……”HI!!!”. I’m suddenly jolted back into rightfuckingnow to see a five year old girl on her bike, very insistent that I know that she thinks I’m a-okay. I smiled a little, returned her greeting and she pedaled off, satisfied. Mission accomplished.

I was reminded of a time a decade back sitting in my menacing black car in my menacing black shades sporting my menacing bla… er, tattoos at a stop light with my head playing my Very Favorite Movie (the version where I’m only missing two toes) when this old Indian woman walks casually past me in the crosswalk. She looked right at me in this calm sort of way that struck me. Two seconds later her grand daughter comes skipping behind her, stops dead in front of my car and with a big ‘I just cashed in with the tooth fairy’ smile she starts waving all Gumpishly right at me.

I bawled. Which at the time wasnt too uncommon but this was the first time I’d cried tears of Hope.

There was no Hope today, but a reprieve. It made me wonder if God has this girl’s number on speed dial at Ethereal Central Casting or something. She made me chuckle. She broke the spell.

The tears came two hours later as I was manically cleaning and a random text came in from a number I didnt know. “Am very happy to have you in my life again. I did miss you my friend.” I bawled. Which at the time isnt too uncommon but this was the first time I’d cried tears of Hope.
Come to think of it, I hate this movie. How about we see Pirates of the Caribbean this time. I already have the leg and the costume.