The conclusion of the Tale of Mr. Crush will have to wait till tomorrow (hint: it did not end happily. Shocker, right…? Who could have seen that one coming?).
Right now, I need to Complain. About something that is Disturbing My Serenity. I have a Resentment, but it sure as hell is not a resentment that I can share in AA. I can’t share it with my friends outside of AA because most of them don’t know I attend and probably wouldn’t understand anyway. I will not share it with my analyst because it is too trivial to spend money discussing.
So that leaves you! Lucky you! Nothing is more fun than listening to a Random Internet Blogger snark into the void.
I know that nobody is perfect and we are all human and we all have character flaws blah blah blah. And in AA, I know that everyone in the room has earned their seat. And I know that some, as they say, are sicker than others. And I know that I’m there to work on myself and help other people and not criticize and judge them about things which are none of my business.
You know what drives me nuts…?
It’s not the crazies. It’s not the Holy Rollers (fortunately, I go to meetings where they almost never show up). It’s not the Big Book-thumping AA Taliban (ditto). It’s not stupid fights over coffee.
It’s the young guy–and I’m sorry, but the Awful Truth is that it is almost always a guy–who shows up, raises his hand, and then complains bitterly about how the counselor at his Rehab Center is an asshole. About how the rules of the Rehab are too strict. About how the curfew at the (private, expensive) Sober House is too early and they’re threatening to kick him out if he breaks it again. About how they won’t let him have his adderall.
It’s the guy who is my chronological peer who complained that he is in a homeless shelter for the first time because his parents finally, finally, finally followed through and stopped supporting him financially. They sent him to three different colleges and supported him financially all his life.
The one who complains–actually complains, like whines–that his wife kicked him out and won’t let him talk to his kids until he Gets It Together. He’s Angry That She’s Keeping Him From His Own Children! He acts put-upon.
I listen to stuff like this and I never say anything because I am not there for that and it’s not my place. Emotionally, I can usually just let it go.
But sometimes it really pisses me off…and I have done enough fellowship to know that I am not the only one.
Hey, buddy! I want to scream. Do you know how lucky you are to be able to go to Rehab? To detox under medical supervision? To have an entire fuckin staff of addiction experts at your disposal to help you salvage your young life? And you’re going to whine that they gave you the chore of sweeping up the cigarette butts from the porch three times a day?
Hey girlfriend! Yeah, you, damn Brooklyn hipster who’s complaining that sobriety means losing your nightlife. You’re blacking out all the time and puking by your bed, but you’re not physically addicted…yet. Do you need a Q-tip to dig the wax out of your ears? Can you hear what the older people are saying about what it’s like to drink vodka in the morning in order to stop the shakes? Yeah, I know they’re geezers, but they’ve been out there, okay, they’ve done the research, the reconnaissance. They know about that of which they speak. Do DTs sound like a party to you? Throwing up blood? Cirrhosis of the liver? Sounds pretty crummy to me. And yes, you’re cute now, but see that babe over there who is only ten years older than you and looks like Margaret Thatcher?
And you, young guy whose parents finally put their foot down and cut off the money. I detect a distinct tone of peevishness in your voice. I’m sure that the homeless shelter sucks. But did you ever stop to think at how badly you had to hurt your parents to make them cut you off? Do you think that making that decision, knowing that you would end up in a homeless shelter, was one of the most painful, excruciating things that they’ve ever done in their lives? Do you think that your mother has laid awake many nights, staring up at the ceiling and asking herself How did I fail as a parent? What should I have done differently?
ALL of you ungrateful assholes who still have family who love you…who care about you and want you to get better…don’t you hear the people in the room who are estranged from their children, estranged from their siblings, estranged from their own parents? People who have been sober and responsible for years, and have really gotten better, and would give anything to re-establish relationships with their loved ones? But they fucked it up so badly when they were drinking, and hurt and exploited their family so terribly, that even now nobody wants anything to do with them.
(Man, I am an imperfect person, but I give myself credit for this much…when the U.S.S. Miss Margo went down, I was the only passenger on board. It was very, very important to me that I not be the sort of addict my father is. Or, to use another metaphor, at least I had the principle to fall on my own fucking grenade.)
You think getting sober is hard now, when you’re still relatively young and healthy and there are still people in your life who care?
Imagine how hard it’s going to be when you’re older and sick and you’ve burned your last bridge. Imagine how hard it’s going to be when you no longer have any reason to get sober for.
Half the time, I think that the bravest person in the room is that 62 year old schizophrenic black homeless dude with 48 days clean.
* * * *
And oh yeah–before I forget…
Happy Anniversary, Stephanie.