A Lesson and a Free Cup of Coffee: The AA Way of Being Present for Others


Dear Gang,

I drove to not one AA meeting, but two.  And I needed them like a crackhead needs a hit.  No lie.

Since the semester ended, I had more than enough time to do very little of nothing.  Most students with a semester like mine would happily binge on Netflix or Hulu at late hours of the night, only to wake up at 2 in the afternoon to switch on their laptop to log-on to Facebook.  FUCK eating a bowl of cereal with a glass of orange juice–reading a link about Selina Gomez being stalked by a guy old enough to be her dad is faaaaar more important.  But I am finding that I am not one of those students.  Yes, I perform those very tasks every morning now…doesn’t mean I like it.  I don’t know what happened, y’all:  I was working out almost everyday, eating salad and drinking water, meditating and then I would tell you about it.  But that has not been the case and I don’t know why…I’m thinking it was the dreaded weather change (Fuck you, December.  Fuck you).

Today, though, the camel’s back broke.  The Dark Passenger was in my ear again, urging me to stay at home and stare at Ernesto’s tan suit jacket hanging on a coat hook.  And nothing else.  But my gut feeling–which is my Spirit talking to me–was like “No, Boo Boo.  We have a world to play in.  Let’s go!”  So after jumping in the shower and washing my hair, I put on some clothes and I was O-U-T as quick as quick can go.  I went to an AA meeting out in Williamsville–a meeting called Lighten Up.  This meeting is actually my homegroup and I haven’t been in a couple of weeks due to other obligations (which is no excuse).  However, I had nothing else going on on a Friday anymore, so I went and sat in a medal folding chair I earned by being an alcoholic.  As the meeting went on, I realized that my Spirit was giving me all kinds of ideas: to go to bed at a reasonable hour, to go grocery shopping sometime tonight so I’m not wasting money at Dunkin Donuts (I can only eat Cream Filled Donuts for sooooo fuckin’ long).

But most of all, It was telling me to reach out to other alcoholics and non-alcoholics.  Instead of sitting in the house, bitching about how December should not even exist, I could call or text someone and see how life is treating them one day at a time.  In the past, before entering the AA (and even during my sobriety), I would isolate myself in whatever room I was in and not come out unless I had to use the bathroom.  I hated noise and didn’t understand why human beings made so much of it.  I ate whole large pizzas and drank or–in later years after getting sober–cry over why I didn’t have that special someone in my life.  I was trapped by my own misery because I always thought about what Meeka wanted and needed to be happy and whole.  And it was usually something or someone outside of myself.  But–as I sat in those meetings tonight–I realized that there’s others options I have besides staying home and staring at my roommate’s suit coat.

As I write this, I’m somewhat dreading the furniture moving task I have for tomorrow.  But I’m doing something for someone else and it doesn’t involve me thinking about myself or me bitching about the weather.  Why am I writing all this?  Because this is my way of sharing the fact that having free time means nothing if it’s going to cause something in life to go horribly awry.  As for me, I have to go to meetings.  I not only qualify, but I get that sense of connection I know I’d never experience by staying in an empty house. I actually speak to people I don’t even look at on the regular.  Women came up to me after the meetings and just started talking.  And smiling at me.  Simply because I was there.  This isn’t me doing the work, but my Higher Spirit wanting me to be a social creature….

Either that or staring at Ernesto’s coat…it burns my eyes with its ugliness.

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