Never before have I responded well to people telling me what to do, especially when I knew I needed to do it. And when an old college friend made amends to me a couple of years ago, before I knew I was an alcoholic, his words and actions spoke louder to me because he was making amends for HIS actions never even beginning to suggest any of my own.
That day, was a turning point for me and even though it took me another year to believe it myself, his loving amend was about him and not finger pointing at me. He wasn’t someone telling me how to live my life. It took a hopeless day of sitting on the couch with my stomach burning, body shaking and mind blowing to realize, I too, was an alcoholic.
For me, the best lessons are ones that are not pushed at me or shoved down my throat. I have learned most things in my life by watching to learn and then living to learn. So as I approach 10 months (which is very GREEN, very new), I remember this humility gift that my old friend gave to me by just being there. Because it was him on that very first day that I called when I had no idea what I was thinking, feeling or doing. I sat in my car crying and blubbering over the phone to the very man that planted the seed by his own honesty that ANYONE could be an alcoholic. Anyone. EVEN me.
Because of Facebook, I have made many more connections with old friends as well as new ones. I am pretty sure I have mentioned this in this blog before, many renewed relationships that were long before I had any problems with alcohol. In one case, after being reconnected, I made a simple acknowledgement of appreciation to the person for his support during a rough patch I went through back in high school. There were no amends needed but this program is teaching the importance of Gratitude and I am making it a conscious effort to express it more often. Once I thanked him, we started talking on the phone and staying more closely in touch on Facebook. We exchange what we are doing on any given day, how our jobs were going, what was happening around the household, we were being pretty frank. We always were with each other all those many years ago, we just picked up from where we had left off.
The Lunch Whistle
The more he shared with me, the more I realized my old friend needs “the program.” On many fronts, when he shares things with me, I hear them as if they were coming out of my mouth. The Lunch Whistle sounded, “He is an alcoholic still doing research.” I can hear the sadness, the fear and the anger building. This is not the same sound of my high school friend, this is my old friend traveling down a similar road I have, only he doesn’t seem to know it. Bloody Mary’s and Scotches included.
I started to share with him what my day is like in more positive ways. I mention meditation, I mention going to the pool, I mention feeling a lot better since I stopped drinking. I don’t mention AA. (Don’t yell at me, please.) I stopped short of mentioning AA because it was almost like “something” told me I shouldn’t. That my old friend needed a friend so that he was not alone. It is very obvious to me that he is isolating himself and these emails or texts of affirmations from 800 miles away (me) are causing him to pause and ask questions about where he is in his life, I know this because he has told me.
If You Want What We Have…
I have been praying for guidance about this because I cannot “unring the bell.” Once I tell my AA story I cannot take it back. I am turning it over daily and still don’t feel as though the time is right. We will see and stay tuned. Thanks for listening as I navigate yet another new experience. Trying to put into practice what worked for me and what may have saved my life.