Friday, September 7, 2007

Sad to see

Today, at a meeting a nicely dressed woman showed up drunk. She is a designer who has been coming to meetings for a while. She had been out partying and was completely messed up, laughing and generally making a lot of commotion. A couple of guys got her quieted down so that the meeting could continue. Later she picked up a white chip, still drunk.

I know what this does to me. It creates a gut-wrenching reaction. I have to force myself not to move. My eyes tell me that this isn't anyone that I know but my heart tells me that this is a person who is in a lot of pain and who is causing a lot of pain. It seems so ironic to have a drunk person show up at an AA meeting. But I would guess that's the best place for anyone drunk to be because they are with people who know how to deal with the situation.

I don't know how to deal with the situation so I just sit and concentrate on not bolting. I stay put and get through the meeting and then can't wait to leave. All the way on the drive back to my office, I'm thinking about the nightmare of that woman's life. And the nightmare of those who love her. It's hard to get the image out of my head. It's hard not to imagine a different face being drunk and out of control. It's hard not to look back.


  1. oh man do I feel you....that is also the worst part for me when I see somebody with an alcohol problem, I see all that is behind it....

  2. detachment is one way not to feel so bad Syd.I can relate to this so very deeply and I remind myself often that detachment lets me stay in my day - keeping hope for others AND myself.One day that designer may find her way to sobriety..lets hope so.Till then.
    Keep up your wonderful sharing and service work whenyou can Syd.IF that is something meaningful for you in your journey and recovery.
    Me being a recovering codependent..well..I know this post well..but like I say,we can detach.You keep sharing here for us okay ?
    And with that,I would like you to email if you have time soon as I am going private with my blog and need to invite you personally via email :)Do you still have my addy?
    Tab xo

  3. The first time I went to a meeting where someone showed up drunk, it really affected me. I was about five months sober at the time. I had horrible nightmares that night (although I can't remember what about now, I know they were directly related to the woman showing up drunk at the meeting). Something about her being so out of control just frightened me, I think. I'm not even sure it was that she reminded me of myself in her drunkeness. I think you may have hit on it about the pain. Maybe that was what I recognized. Or maybe it was that I felt like I didn't want to be anywhere near her, and that horrified me too. I'm not sure what it was. I

    Also, I was sitting right behind her, and she smelled terrible and her lurching movements startled me. I felt ashamed at myself on so many levels. It was a very weird experience for me.

    It's still not easy now seeing newcomers come in drunk. And I am still new enough my sponsor likes to keep me with a chaperone with someone in that sort of state. It's hard to see someone in that cusp of deciding to change their lives, being uncertain if they will follow through.

    Bill Wilson taught that he was "powerless" over every urge or craving he ever had, no matter whether it was a thirst for alcohol, cravings for cigarettes, greed for money, the desire for self-aggrandizement, the temptation to lie, or the urge to cheat on his wife Lois by having sex with all of the pretty young women who came to the meetings. That's an interesting excuse for cheating on your wife, one of the more novel ones, but it doesn't wash. Notice how such an "Admission of Powerlessness" is really just a veiled excuse to continue such behavior: "I can't quit jumping on all of the pretty young women at the meetings, because I'm powerless over my sexual urges. So I guess I'm doomed; I'll just have to keep on enjoying all of the cute young babes because I don't have any control over the situation..."
    Bill Wilson was habitually unfaithful to the wife who was supporting him, both before and after sobriety. Bill was such an outrageous philanderer that the other elder A.A. members had to form a "Founder's Watch Committee", whose job it was to follow Bill Wilson around, and watch him, and break up budding sexual relationships with the pretty young things before he publicly embarrassed A.A. yet again. The impression that he was a ladies' man seems to have come from the way he sometimes behaved at AA gatherings. When Bill wasn't accompanied by Lois (or later, Helen), he could often be observed engaged in animated conversation with an attractive young newcomer. His interest in younger women seemed to grow more intense with age. Barry Leach, who knew Bill nearly thirty years, told me that in the 1960s he and other friends of Bill's formed what they came to refer to as the "Founder's Watch" committee. People were delegated to keep track of Bill during the socializing that usually accompanies AA functions. When they observed a certain gleam in his eye, they would tactfully steer Bill off in one direction and the dewy-eyed newcomer in another.
    Bill W., A Biography of Alcoholics Anonymous Co-Founder Bill Wilson, Francis Hartigan, 2000, page 192.
    Susan Cheever reported the same thing in her biography of Bill Wilson, although she tried hard to downplay its importance, using standard stereotypical alcoholic Minimization and Denial to claim that it didn't matter much and wasn't any big deal:
    Many people in A.A. worried that Bill Wilson's sexual behavior would be discovered and reflect badly on the movement. Whether or not they were necessary, self-appointed "Bill watchers" usually stayed close to him at meetings and conferences to prevent him from interacting with attractive newcomers in a way that might appear unseemly.
    My Name Is Bill; Bill Wilson -- His Life And The Creation Of Alcoholics Anonymous, Susan Cheever, page 225.
    What kind of a healer or leader is that? You have to follow him around and watch him, to prevent him from sexually exploiting the newcomers?
    Also notice how Susan Cheever totally ignored and avoided the important issue of the harm done to the women alcoholics who got used by Bill for his sex games and self-aggrandizement. Susan Cheever wouldn't touch that issue; she only wrote about how some silly worry-warts unnecessarily fretted over Bill's behavior, worrying that it might "reflect badly on the movement", and "might appear unseemly". Susan Cheever writes as if the women in recovery didn't matter and didn't have any feelings worth worrying about, and their recovery, their health, and their continued sobriety was of no consequence, not even worth mentioning. The women whom Bill Wilson used and exploited were treated like irrelevant objects both in Bill's sex games and in Susan Cheever's mind. Bill Wilson just didn't want to be bothered with the hard work of resisting temptation. Like so many other phony gurus, he lived a life of hypocritical irresolute self-indulgence, preaching "spirituality", "absolute purity", "rigorous honesty", and self-sacrifice to others while indulging in all of the pleasures of the flesh himself -- with the sole exception that he does appear to have finally quit drinking alcohol after it nearly killed him.
    So just how was Bill's behavior an example of a life "lived on a spiritual basis"? Besides the fact that he hypocritically yammered the words "God" and "working selflessly" all of the time, and held séances and played with Ouija boards, just what was "spiritual" about William G. Wilson?
    (HINT: "spiritual" and "superstitious" are not synonyms.)

  5. it's hard to watch someone like that. i watched my dad and hated it. and although i couldn't watch myself, i knew what i was doing, and hating it too. it's over me me, for now anyway...

  6. I wonder if I'll ever forget my friend LA who sat next to me in an AA meeting reeking of alcohol? She's sober over a year now-- what a blessing


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