Friday, July 24, 2009
My new sponsee called me in the wee hours of the morning. He was trying to make a decision on whether to stay up and party or go to bed so that he could get to a job that he had to do in the morning.
My first thought is, "You have to be kidding me. You woke me and my wife up so that you could tell me that this was an upsetting decision to make." Then I realized that this sounds more like alcoholism than the "isms" of Al-Anon. (I've heard in meetings that these "isms" stand for I, Self, Me // I Sponsor Myself // Internal Spiritual Maladjustment)// Incredibly Short Memory // I Sabotage Myself).
I asked him if he had been drinking and he said that he had a glass of wine. He said that he guessed that his actions were childish. He is 30 years old and still getting money from his parents. Yep, this sounds childish to me: Either stay up and party and miss the work appointment or tell the partiers that I'm calling it a night so that I can work in the morning. Hmmmm....which one would I choose.
I think that I'm going to have to set some boundaries with him starting today. He and I are meeting up for our first discussion on Step One. I'm going to provide him with the 12 steps of sponsoring that I blogged about yesterday.
I understand that he has been a member of the AA fellowship but no longer attends meetings or has an AA sponsor. Based on the conversations that we've had over the phone, it seems that the disease of alcoholism may be alive and well.
I have to remember that although someone may be 30 years, 50 years or even older and sober, they may remain childish, grandiose, and emotionally immature. As Dr. Silkworth said, they may be an "outright mental defective" with all the anxieties, depression and fears bubbling up. I found the following statement about alcoholism to be insightful:
"I am maladjusted to life, in full flight from reality.......... As a going human concern, my natural state is .......exacerbated with and complicated by an obsessive, compulsive, impulsive, excessive, controlling, demanding need for attention, acceptance and unqualified approval. A condition of being which renders me restless, irritable and discontented with life.
Mentally, my thought life is controlled by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking and self-pity; all of which drive me to live my life according to selfish, dishonest, self-seeking, inconsiderate, resentful and frightened motives, motives which left unattended in me arouse and engage dangerous and life threatening levels of lust (I try not to make eye contact).
Pride, anger, envy, greed, sloth, gluttony, I turn into a pig, I want it all - that renders me emotionally a bit sensitive. Which means I have a strong tendency toward taking everything I see or hear personally. I don't like criticism and I'll be damned if I can stand praise (I don't believe you). When it comes to suffering emotionally, I don't like to suffer emotionally. I don't suffer well and I don't suffer alone.
Socially, I'm a bankrupt idealist and brooding perfectionist who lives defensively and guarded in fear of being found out. As such, I tend to rationalize, minimize, justify and deny all of my actions while casting blame upon innocent people in a vigorous attempt to avoid attention. When it comes to my fellow man and woman, I demand the absolute possession and control of everybody and every circumstance that enters my arena of life.
My response to you is that I am quick to anger, I'm slow to virtue, and I get a distinct and succinct delight and twisted pleasure out of judging and criticizing everybody I see. My outstanding characteristic is defiance, and rebellion dogs my every step. Now, as a child of God, that is a list of my finer qualities (anybody want a date?). You'll hear this at every meeting you go to, but from newcomers, this is how you hear them: "I don't fit in, I don't belong, I'm not a part of, my God what's wrong with me - I must be different." And the only thing that satisfies that restless, irritable, dissatisfied nature in me is alcohol or drugs......"-- Wayne B.
I think that I will print this out as well. I have a lot of these same shortcomings. I understand a lot of what is behind the desire to be in "full flight from reality". The difference is that I faced my reality every day and became crazier and crazier because of that. I think that he and I need to get honest with each other about expectations and what I am willing to do and not willing to do as a sponsor in Al-Anon. I sure know that I can't fix an alcoholic.