Sunday Sundries … I’m On a Maintenance Program
Thunder and lightening is rolling over the city right now. At least the rain waited for us to get home. It was a chilly night, windy and dark. It was grey when I arrived at the church, rain was coming, it was just when that mattered.
I left a few minutes early so that I would have some time to sit and read before folks started turning up. Folks are busy with final papers and exams, and my coffee mate did not show, so I set up alone. Which isn’t a bad thing.
We sat a good crowd. A few visitors from out of town, as one of my guys said later on that tonight was not all that exciting, citing our high profile guests last week. All in a days work, I guess.
We read from the Big Book. “Flooded with Feeling.” This story’s central message was the writers coming in and eventual Third Step. A good number of our folks are not at that point yet.
It was what came after the meeting that matters.
One of my guys came to the meeting, but did not share. And I asked him why after the meeting. It seemed he did not think he had something useful to say.
It is at these points that we should say something.
I have said that my guys are dually addicted. And we work out of both books.
There is a problem at one of the meetings, my guys are going to. The problem of mixed messages.
When I got sober, there were scores of folks who claimed to be sober, come to a meeting, state their sobriety date, and speak to the effect that they were still drinking.
Then there are those who are alcoholic, come to a meeting and get sober, yet they go on what we call the marijuana maintenance plan.
Tonight, I heard the story about folks who go to M.A. who stop smoking, but openly admit that they are on a drink maintenance plan.
Clean and Sober means “clean and sober.” That we have stopped using any mind altering substances. Some folks did not get the memo.
One of my guys came away conflicted. Why bother going to meetings, if you are still using and/or drinking?
I pondered that thought for a bit before answering. One theory could be that if their initial addiction was pot and they have been successful at stopping, and they drink, AND the drink has not yet become a problem, (but it might) the thought is that they are clean (albeit, partially).
When we go to a meeting, we invest in the people at that particular meeting. And we listen and we participate. Active listening means that if we hear something that we can speak experience to, then we do so after the meeting.
But at the end of the day, once we depart and arrive home, it is all about us, and whether we have used or drank today. Wasting time worrying about whether certain people are honest and truthful at the end of the day is a waste of time.
It is they who have/might have, a problem. And in time they might figure it out, or they might not. And it is not up to us to point a finger and point that out. People have to come to their own conclusions. Hit their own bottoms.
This is where strategic sharing comes to bear. Speaking from experience, strength and hope we can offer an opinion in open community and not stand up and point the finger directly. Allow them to come to or not. It isn’t about us.
I try to speak humility to my guys. No one is better than the other, and we can’t get on our soap box and shame folks. All we have is our experience at the end of the day. And if and when an opportunity comes up for us to share one on one we take it.
You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink.
Live and let Live comes to bear.
We are powerless over people, places and things.
And what people think of us is none of our business.
At the end of the day we do our tenth steps, and a gratitude list. Every day we speak to one another.
And remember but for the grace of God, you could be them.
Stuck in the vicious cycle of drugs and alcohol.
My guys are headed towards their steps. Which is a good thing.
It struck me a couple weeks ago that for months, I have been reciting my prayers. Speaking the words, and coming to believe in them. A great sponsor came into my life, who is on my side, supports me, and when we did my third step he got on his knees with me and we prayed together.
I knew that he was In It with me.
That is a very good thing.
A good night was had by all.
More to come. Stay tuned…