DRINKING ALCOHOL TAUGHT ME HOW TO FLY
THEN IT TOOK AWAY THE SKY

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

OLD TIMERS vs LONG TIMERS


My "TRUE STORY" from five days ago--steveroni

OLD TIMERS vs LONG TIMERS
MEMBERS OF THE JURY

In my early morning group of usual 60-80 people, we have about a third beginners, a third old-timers, and a third from five to twenty years. Myself, I prefer the term "Long-Timer" to "Old-Timer", simply because even at age 75, I really do not 'feel' old. When I was a child, age 75 was an unrealistic goal of a man's longevity, which was usually measured somewhere in the sixth decade of life.

Anyways, around one far corner of our huge circle of tables sits what some of us call the "jury". Now this is a group of about four really old-timers, of whom it's said, if one of them smiled, you might hear the noise from a cracked face, maybe a mile away. Actually, they are all well-meaning fellows, have been sober many years (from 29-38), show up every day. Amongst all the good which emanates from this corner of the room...leave it to steveroni to pick out the single fault, the one item which might be considered a failing--I say the only ONE!

That one defect is a tendency to (not quite quietly quiet enough!) snicker, to not silently enough, whisper, and to quite obviously roll eyeballs, sigh, shake heads, etc., as another member of the group is talking/sharing/pouring out her/his heart. If someone talks--even five seconds--past their two-minute limit, they look at their watches in expectant waitfulness of the closing sentence. You probably, from my description, know just the type of old guy (seems like never are they women who do this?) of whom I speak.

For months I've had the feeling that I was a target of this crapola, but was never certain. I figured, since I used to be "king" of paranoia, that my old nemesis was returning, and I needed some work in the 'fear' area--although I was not aware of any fear in me--recently, at least. So last week I decided to sit right behind this group in those chairs preferred by beginners--along the far wall? Ha! You DO know! That way, I could better note if they were secretly hootin' at moi.

Well, it turned out, they were. As soon as I began to talk (you guys know I don't say TOO much dumb shit, right?) the shenanigans began. They seemingly didn't even realize I was sitting close enough to give them haircuts. Well, I just spoke through it all, as if I was undisturbed--yeah, RIGHT!

It was good for me to find out that I--Mr Perfect--still had some anger and resentment inside me. Shame on God, I thought He had removed them all, for all time! ( See, this is a 'learning' experience I'm relating here.) Well, by the end of the meeting 8 AM, I was SEETHING!

My sponsor was not in the room that morning, so I sought out a female friend, whose sobriety I've long respected, and whose counsel I admired...and handed my problem to her, with the question (rather stupid?) "Should I confront these guys, should I ignore it, I'm really tore up inside me, etc."
And you know what she said?

J. told me, "Pray for them. They are sober, sure, but they are very immature and judgmental, and maybe even envious of you and others. So, yes, pray for them, wish for them all the nice things you'd wish for yourself today."

I got on my scooter, and began praying. One minute later, before I had reached the edge of the parking lot by the street, my resentment, anger, and fear, and paranoia, were gone. Completely! And I felt GREAT again, just like (almost) always! Thank you J., thank You, God, thank you, Alcoholics Anonymous! And the whole deal was lifted and is still gone. Completely!

End of the story is that J. told me EXACTLY what I would have told anyone else who might have come to me, with the same problem. I, without even thinking, would have said, "Pray for him or them!"

Well, I'll say it again, my favorite line: "Ya Never Know!"

happily and gratefully submitted by steveroni


18 comments:

Christy said...

WOW.. isn't it amazing what prayer does? I've had resentment, unforgiveness, bitterness issues with someone in my past, and my husband gave me the same advice.. pray for them.. pray that they would be blessed more than you. It was SO hard to do this at first, but after I started doing it, it got easier, and I have really let some things go.
I love your posts! I love your honesty, and I just said a prayer of thankfulness that I found you through the blogworld.

Amysplash said...

hi there steve thank you so much for the comments hugs and for careing and i am glad you like my art thank you for careing

much love amy

Shadow said...

your own advise right back at you... amazing! at least you now know it works, heee heeee heeee

big Jenn said...

I'm glad that you were able to do this for these guys. Sounds like they need some prayers! jeNN

Kristin H. said...

That's really all we can do. Just pray every time. Then go home and blog about 'em ;)

Gabriella Moonlight said...

Wow, first off 60-80 people that must be an amazing meeting, where I am we are lucky to get 30 in a room; which is big for here. Secondly, I had this happen at my first home group and it was so disconcerting to me, I never confronted them, only prayed and it does work, today I see them and only pray for their happiness. IT is a miracle that this program exists and if I chose I can find the solution, you help me immensely and this post really helps too! Thank you Steve...thank you~

xo The GabiLou (what a close friend calls me...LOL).

Progress, Not Perfection said...

Thanks Steve for reminding me how blessed I am at my home meeting. I feel like Thursday ACOA is my very own weekly miracle.

Also thanks for your own advice. There are many people on a daily basis that I get annoyed or frustrated with. I am going to do my best not to take it so personally and say a prayer letting HP take care of the situation.

Thanks also for your comments and advice. I appreciate it.
Kristen

~Tyra~ said...

Wonderful post, thank you.

Cat said...

Well Done Steve!

molly said...

hiya honey pie - i would NEVA take you off my hollywood squares!! hehe

Syd said...

That's awesome Steve. I also would have a problem with the old folks doing their controlling stuff in a meeting. I experienced that in an Al-Anon meeting and decided that I didn't want to go back. But I also prayed for this person. I know that I still have a problem with being criticized. It's one of my character defects for sure. Thanks for this post. It is a good one.

Hope said...

I prayed for a long for someone who got under my skin. I used the prayer on page 552 of the big book. It took much longer than the stated two weeks for my attitude to change but eventually it did. I go back to that prayer again and again when I am bugged (eventually).

When I came back into the rooms, after nearly losing my sobriety of 18 years, I used to puff myself up and use as a shield I guess, my years of sobriety. Then one day someone with 24 hours of sobriety sat next to me at a meeting and I heard them be more honest than I ever could be at that point and I was instantly humbled. I realized then that years of sobriety and quality of sobriety are not the same thing.

Thanks for posting this because just the other day I spoke with my sponsor about someone in my home group who was flinging parting comments my way whenever I share honestly in a meeting that I'm not in a good space that day. I'd forgotten that simply praying for them might be the answer rather than giving them an earful.

Zanejabbers said...

OH, the self appointed elders of the meeting. So pius, so judgmental. There was a group at a Sunday night meeting in Studio City Ca and the meeting dubbed them "Judgement Row." Yep the ole prayer from the last page of Freedom from Bondage. It has kept my mouth shut when I just wanted to yell at some of those Bitches, praying stopped me everytime. Thanks for a well said post.

♥Shann♥ said...

There are no words to describe the amzing power of prayer!

Amysplash said...

I GOT A FLUTTERBUY TAT TODAY yayyyyy lol just thought i would let you know and i was sober this time my first two where when i was a teen young drunk and stupid lol

hugs amy

Lou said...

This post gave me pause. The 2 very different meetings I attend during the week don't have this problem. But in blogging I feel I have experienced this kind of snickering & judgement. Which I thought was counter to everything that AA teaches. How do you expect an emotionally fragile wreck to come back to a place where one is treated that way. Thankfully, there are enough meetings, I guess one can find a comfortable place.
Too bad those old geezers won't listen to a young 'un like you!

Kathy Lynne said...

I know EXACTLY who you are talking about! But it is a reminder to me as well, because I can also get judgemental at meetings..and remind myself that instead of expressing it verbally or nonverbally, I need to pray for that person and for myself..to see and to hear what is really being said.

vicariousrising said...

Oh, man, I know those type guys. I know I still need to wirk on my sobriety because when those guys start clucking, sighing and eyerolling at people, I tend to stare them down. Lots of them think I'm cute and try to explain themselves later, but I just reprimand them in a teasing way about how people sometimes just need to have their say.

Of course, there are some folk who never shut up and I can't blame them for the fuss. But these are extreme cases and not usually regular meeting attendees.