When I moved to this city, I was the “new kid on the block.” I did not know anyone, but the friend I had come to visit, who would help me root and find a new home.
I was sober.
I hear my friends, my gay friends, tell their stories, and inside my heart breaks, because at some point, on my journey, I too, was once like they are today.
When I walked into the room, that would become sober central for me, I met women. A lot of women. Who were KIND to me. They offered me work to do, so that I would return the following week.
Over my sobriety, I have learned how to be kind to everybody.
I am, without fail, kind to everybody, gay or straight. I’ve not been unkind to anyone I know. I am observant, I am present, I listen, and I watch people. I know them.
There is NOT ONE gay member in this city, who wants to know anything I have to offer, even if I go out of my way to be present and to be KIND. I don’t understand.
On the flip side, my straight friends, are kind to me, in ways, others are not.
We all want to be seen, and heard. And to do that, requires a little bit of honesty.
Little by slowly, as we thaw out from disaster, and we find our chair, and we get comfortable IN that chair, we begin to find our voice.
Then it is all downhill from there …
I know what it is like to be shunned and be tossed out into the street, by people who should have known better. I know what it feels to not love myself, or to be kind to myself, or always beating myself up for one reason or another.
How it Works talks about learning how to be honest with one’s self.
Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those people who do not recover are people who cannot or will not give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are CONSTITUTIONALLY INCAPABLE of being HONEST with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living that demands rigorous HONESTY.
Being kind, I think, over time, demands rigorous honesty, even when it hurts.
Over the last year, I have been through the most painful period in my sobriety. Something I have in common with who I heard speak tonight.
Some people get what they need, and others do not. Save, that over that worst year of my sober life, I kept going to meetings, and talking my head off, even if nobody wanted to do anything, because nobody did anything. But I kept showing up.
You’d think that the gay men and women, would rally round each other and support one another. Oddly, I have been kind to all of them, even though, my fellows cannot bring themselves to be kind in return.
I don’t know, it MUST be the gay. My kind of Gay.
I am the only SURVIVOR of the scourge of AIDS in this city. That makes me an outcast. However, gays, share many things in common. The same feelings, the same emotions, the same problems, and the same struggles. Been there, done that.
I’ve been nothing but kind to everyone. Always going out of my way to be supportive. And like I said, everything I have done in sobriety, is directly correlated, to what I saw, and what I see going on around me.
Sadly, how can you be sober, and NOT be honest with your peers ?
How can you not sit in rooms, night after night, week after week, month after month and year after year, and not collect tons of data on your friends, and when the time is right, to be able to walk up to someone and say … Get the Fuck Honest for God’s sake !
How to you carry the message, when folks don’t want to know what’s wrong or they don’t want your help ?
I met a newcomer the other night. Young, Gay, just moved to the city, needs someone to work with, needs to root, and find his way in …
I listened to him. And I spoke as well. I reached out – my phone has YET to RING, and after the meeting he was sitting a few rows behind me and I was like, HI !
Another gay, who I am overly critical about, because he is full of shit, I’ve spent the whole of HIS time in the rooms, trying to be his friend, and to help him, to no avail.
I write a lot. People do not like that I write A LOT. People do not like that I tell stories about the work I do, so brutally honest. People don’t want to be reminded about what they say, or what they do, in community.
How do you get sober, and not plan on doing any of the leg work to get there ?
I am back in the saddle next week. After taking a sober break from my Thursday meeting, because I pissed off a gay, because I told a story about his stupidity. Now we sit in the Thursday meeting together, mere feet apart, across the center aisle, and I know he has shit to say, and I have shit to say because I have worked on my script, every time I lay my head on my pillow at night.
And I know better.
I know that if I open my mouth, it ain’t gonna be sunshine and Jesus. If I shoot my mouth off, it won’t serve the greater good, nor move us toward God or goodness.
I know the difference between doing the Right thing for the Wrong reason, and, doing the Wrong thing for the Right reason. I know the difference between right and wrong, and good and evil.
The word Honesty came up several times tonight.
And I have been nothing but honest all the time. I’ve been brutally honest, even in my darkest hour, with people, whom I thought would stand with me and offer me something, ANYTHING.
Nope. Not Gonna Do It.
Fuck me for being honest.
I don’t know any other way to stay sober, but be honest in all my affairs.
Straight people are more at ease with me being honest, than Gay people.
Maybe it’s because I am older ? Fifty ? Sober ? Alive ? Honest ?
I don’t know, I just don’t get it.
I know what it is like to be fueled by alcohol and drugs, into doing things that when they were going on, seemed pleasant ? I followed the lie that alcohol was going to bring me Into Community and make it all work in my favor.
If someone will love me, then I don’t have to love myself, right ?
If love involves, self-denial, or actions that are below board, or pushing you to do something that you would not otherwise do when you were sober, is just WRONG.
How many times did I continually make that mistake ?
When I was tossed from that meeting, long ago and I went all out to find someone to love me, because I could not love myself, ALONE, I almost died in that Love Attempt.
Oh God, the things I did, in sobriety, that just fucked me up, because there was nobody who was there to say STOP for fuck’s sake.
When they tell us to STAY OUT of relationships in our first year, that is SOUND advice. I know, off the top of my head, how many of my friends ignored that little nugget of wisdom.
Nope, Not gonna do that …
I know, how many of my friends, are sunk in the “I cannot be alone, ergo, I am going to go find it, even if it comes between me and my sobriety.”
And I hear my friends struggle.
I know what it is like to put the RIGHT human, in the role of Higher Power – That definitely was Todd. Because when Todd stepped into my life, he was on a mission to save my life, and had I not done what he told me to do, I would be dead today.
I also know what it felt like to put the WRONG human in the role of higher power, when I did not know any better, IN sobriety. Oh the horror !
I just know that I work my ass off to be the best human I can be. I have enough men and women in my circle who keep me honest and sober, in spite of myself. Not that I really have a problem with listening and taking advice. I would rather know what to do from long sober members, than trust what is in my head on any give day, which is why I go to certain meetings.
How difficult is it to be kind, even when it hurts ? Very difficult.
An observant alcoholic, who sees, listens and talks about what he sees, is a threat to people’s sobriety. I write here to help me, and maybe help You.
As long as I don’t mention names, I can carry the message outside that room.
I mean, why do we go to meetings, if we don’t bring home and unpack what we just heard, and use it to learn from, by writing it all down ?
I’ve been doing this the whole of my sobriety.
Honestly, I really cannot understand why honest kindness is so difficult.
Some people are sicker than others. And not everybody is going to want whatever sobriety you are peddling. That’s their loss not mine.
We are always moving towards greater complexity (read: God) and I practice being Godly and kind and honest. Some people just don’t see it that way.
Sobriety is Not Always Sunshine and Unicorns.
But I came to the point where I sat with God and I asked for my life to change. God did not disappoint. Hence the last year of my life was the WORST year of my sober life, yet to date.
It was Raw, Painful, Honest and Difficult.
Nobody came and sat with me. Nobody offered a word of hope or consolation. Nobody knew what to do with an overly emotional Gay.
What did I do ?
I kept going to meetings and I did service, like I was taught to do from the very beginning, and that kept me sober and sane. People were looking at me and measuring their words carefully. None of them offered anything but standard fare:
Keep coming back, It will get better, Do some service.
It would have been a lot easier if someone had sat down with me and showed me a game plan, alas, I had no playbook. No plan. I rode the wave as God bore it for me.
God was there, in the little things. And people now get what they get. Many don’t care, nor want to participate in my sobriety, in any capacity.
I have friends, who care. And for that I am grateful.
One friend in particular tonight, said as much.
Not Always Sunshine and Unicorns …